December 18, 1943, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Alan Rudolph is one of cinema’s most unashamed romantics, and a distinctively self-reflexive one. Although his films yearn for an emotional tie to the world, Rudolph’s desire to connect with an audience is never at the expense of his interest in the materiality of films, in how the particular charge of a frame, cut, or gesture can spark emotion and self-reflection. “Films have always been the best way for me to communicate with myself,” Rudolph tells us; “Every splice, shot, and line of dialogue can be its own reward.”1 He has an eccentric eye, a knack for the unexpected frame: the opening shot of his first major feature, Welcome to L.A. (1976), is not an image of the city or the film’s ensemble cast, but rather of an empty seat in a taxi cab, before a pan reveals a character sitting on the other side. Rudolph’s film worlds are imbued with these kinds of peculiar, lonely moments, occurring apart from any sense of conventional reality: the familiar Seattle locations of Trouble in Mind (1986) are transfigured into the fictional Rain City; and the Los Angeles of Welcome to L.A. is decontextualised to the point that it appears to be populated only by the film’s dozen characters.2

Yet Rudolph’s camera – which often floats dreamily along the edges of scenes – will eventually give up its shy, arty detachment when so moved by an actor. Whatever his modernist predilections, Rudolph is ultimately a filmmaker who swoons for his players: his camera loves Keith Carradine, playing promiscuous bachelors seducing their way across the worlds of Welcome to L.A. and Choose Me (1984); he is fascinated with Geraldine Chaplin, never filmed more intelligently or to greater effect than by Rudolph in Remember My Name (1978), one of the great (and unjustly ignored) films of the ‘70s; he taps an interesting blend of sensitivity and gruff in Kris Kristofferson, the tough guy who wanders through the glam-noir world of Trouble in Mind; and he marvels at Jennifer Jason Leigh, who fills her Dorothy Parker with an endearing, vulnerable haughtiness in Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994).

Alan Rudolph

Jennifer Jason Leigh in Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle

This love for actors, of course, is shared by Rudolph with his most important influence, Robert Altman.3 Nevertheless, when asked to compare his films with those of his mentor, who employed the young Rudolph as an assistant director on The Long Goodbye (1973), California Split (1974), and Nashville (1975), and as co-screenwriter on Buffalo Bill and the Indians (1976), Rudolph has said, “I’m more shamelessly romantic than Bob.”4 Many of the films Rudolph would go on to direct contain the same art cinema attributes Robert T. Self locates in Altman’s work, including an “interrogation of classical storytelling and popular genres,” an interest in marginalised individuals, and self-reflexivity.5 But Rudolph’s films, while bearing these traits, also give themselves guiltlessly over, with just a little more goofy earnestness and, finally, a little less ironic detachment than Altman’s, to the besotted sway of the romantically charged moment. While Altman is frequently mentioned as an important influence on Paul Thomas Anderson, the more earnestly romantic shades of Anderson’s sensibility are straight from Rudolph. The hopeful beam that breaks across Lesley Ann Warren’s face in the final frames of Choose Me is, for example, a striking precedent for a similar moment in the final shot of Anderson’s Magnolia (1999). These little moments of expression, emerging as they do from an initial position of wariness on the part of both character and director, are key to Rudolph’s films.

Alan Rudolph

Lesley Ann Warren and a lightning flash of emotion in the final frames of Choose Me

Pressed elsewhere on his likeness to Altman, Rudolph continues: “I look within, Bob looks without. He has a much broader view of things, he understands the workings of a subject. I get involved in the moment-by-moment emotional range. That’s why I’m not really good at plots. My little individuals add up to a whole, and Bob’s whole gets down to individuals.”6 But not all of those individuals are so little. That Rudolph was confident enough to tackle Kurt Vonnegut’s prickly Breakfast of Champions in a 1999 film adaptation, or to film part of the life of a literary figure as infamous as Dorothy Parker, suggests a love for the big dreamers as well as the little people – the visionaries, the eccentrics with status. Carolyn Kelley laments that Rudolph chooses only to highlight the melodramatic aspects of Parker’s life, at the expense of her social and political endeavours.7 But Rudolph’s intelligently selective approach to Parker’s biography is in tune with his overall vision as a director, which often explores how a character’s aesthetic sensitivity meshes (or not) with matters of love. This is why characters in Rudolph’s pop-modernist romances are often artists, or keen connoisseurs of art, music, and movies: they need the artificial surfaces of an image to reflect upon their woo. There is, for example, the music-making, singing, songwriting, and listening undertaken by the lovers in Welcome to L.A., Roadie (1980), Songwriter (1985), Made in Heaven (1987), The Secret Lives of Dentists (2003), and Premonition (1972; an early stab at the horror film, its central character a musician who occasionally talks to the camera); the painting and sculptures decorating the mise-en-scène of Choose Me, Trouble in Mind, The Moderns, and Investigating Sex (2001); works of literature in Mrs. Parker and Breakfast of Champions, as well as Equinox (1993); and the movies themselves, referenced in the backdrops of Choose Me and Made in Heaven, but most intriguingly in Remember My Name and Afterglow (1997), in which Rudolph mines the film-historic star personas of, respectively, Geraldine Chaplin and Julie Christie, both playing scarred heroines haunted by filmic images of the past.

That Rudolph should so frequently connect his characters’ search for love with their search for artworks that might help them articulate their inner lives is a sign that his films are meant to be received in a similar way, as objects that meaningfully insinuate themselves into the lives of viewers. Rudolph has underscored the importance of his audience’s active emotional engagement, pointing not only to the effort that must be made to connect with his occasionally “unsympathetic”8 characters but also to the fact that the viewer must negotiate a foregrounded, self-aware filmic artifice in order to do this. He says:

My films can’t survive at all if you don’t search for your connection to the character. It’s like the tree falling in the forest, does it make a sound? … My films basically start from an artificial point on purpose. It’s very similar to the theater in that the audience has to participate or the films don’t work.9

From this “artificial point” Rudolph builds the picture of a complete world, but it only works if the viewer is emotionally attentive to details: “I tend to reduce the ‘society’ of my films to the handful of characters we encounter. That way, every emotion adds a clue to the overall fabric, which includes the audience.”10 Early in his career, Rudolph expresses this desire to connect with the viewer through the figures in his frame, who gaze directly into the camera as if in search for an emotional tie to the audience unavailable in their film worlds. This direct address to the camera is the main motif of Welcome to L.A., and although it will not appear again in Rudolph’s work until Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, the implicit appeal to the audience for an emotional bond – an appeal that parallels the search for love that goes on in the films – remains, throughout Rudolph’s career, an important aspect of his cinema.

Alan Rudolph

The direct address to the camera in Welcome to L.A.

Rudolph’s films are not naïve – they understand that viewers are already marked, perhaps even deceived, by other images. So in asking us to swoon over his images, he asks us also to think about them. Near the beginning of Welcome to L.A., Chaplin’s character intones, in her direct address to the camera, that “everyone gets deceived” – an expression of the lover’s wary awareness that romance might turn out to be deception, an advertisement of love rather than the real thing.11. So when a piece of art, or an aspect of a life (ultimately the same thing in Rudolph’s cinema) does not resonate truthfully for a lover, she must abandon it, usually resulting in romantic moments in which the films take on a kind of leanness, even a solitude. Rudolph has remarked upon the way his creative process involves a stripping-away: “The movie [Welcome to L.A.] is spare, very spare … It’s very lean – down to the bone.”12 Here he speaks primarily of narrative economy, but this sensibility reverberates in the worlds of the films, as characters hunt for the clean break of a romantic moment.

The Dreams that Possess You (1976-1980)

The son of former child actor and television director Oscar Rudolph, movies seemed a likely path for Alan Rudolph’s professional life, but his beginnings in cinema were inauspicious.13 Before joining with Altman, Rudolph directed two horror films, Premonition (1972) and Terror Circus (1974). Rudolph joined the second of these films five days into its production; today he disowns it, and beyond a few early glimpses of his penchant for the zoom lens and the roving camera, there is little sign of the filmmaker to come.14 Premonition is more evocative of what would emerge as Rudolph’s style. Its story of a college student, Neil (Carl Crow), who experiences hallucinations after a misbegotten encounter with the remnants of an Indian tribe, evokes the drug culture of the late 1960s and also prefigures the more thoroughly dreamy haze of later Rudolph films. Premonition also contains two key markers of Rudolph’s later approach: the character who creates an artwork as a way of reflecting upon experiences (Neil sings a song to the camera, before flashbacks take us to the main part of the narrative) and an interrogation into the possible deception of existing images (a concert meant to evoke a sort of miniature Woodstock, presented through a series of hallucinatory images, feels more like a questioning of the validity of hippie culture rather than an endorsement of it).

After the stint as assistant to Altman, Rudolph made his debut proper in 1976 with Welcome to L.A, a film about several intersecting love affairs in Los Angeles. The ensemble cast includes ideal Rudolph players: Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, John Considine, Harvey Keitel, Lauren Hutton, Sally Kellerman, Viveca Lindfors, and Sissy Spacek. Upon its release some regarded the film as an imitation of Nashville in a different setting, with the songs of Richard Baskin (who also plays a musician in both films) providing the musical accompaniment, evoking Nashville’s reliance on music as a means to create links between its various character portraits.15 There is some validity to this observation; the Carradine character’s flirty encounters with nearly all of its female characters give Welcome to L.A. its structural through-line, as if the entire film were an extension of the moment in Nashville when the Carradine character sings “I’m Easy” to possibly four or more women at once. But unlike Altman, who takes the milieu of Nashville as his starting point, Rudolph begins with specific nuances of performance. Perhaps most emblematic of this tendency – and also suggestive of the Rudolph character’s reflexive attitude to art – is Chaplin’s imitation of Greta Garbo in Camille (George Cukor, 1936). Chaplin mimics Garbo throughout Welcome to L.A., most memorably when she meets the Carradine character for the first time on the side of the road. Immersed in her own solitude, Chaplin resists Carradine’s initial flirtation by offering her own emotional volley, aping an amusingly mannered Swedish accent as she evokes a moment from Camille. The result is the first oddly enchanting moment in Rudolph’s cinema. It is a scene that crackles with the pleasure of two performers acting out what will become for Rudolph a familiar drama: the self-questioning of love, and the wary approach to human contact.

Alan Rudolph

Keith Carradine and Geraldine Chaplin in Welcome to L.A.

Rudolph will tackle disillusionment again in Remember My Name, once again casting Geraldine Chaplin as a character haunted by movies. In an interview Rudolph claims major influences on Remember My Name were ‘40s melodramas and noirs (and the figure of the avenging femme fatale in particular), although the use of mostly sunny Southern California exteriors suggests a waking nightmare.16 Chaplin plays ex-convict Emily, the former wife of Neil (Anthony Perkins), a construction worker and aspiring architect who plans to build a cabin for his current wife Barbara (Berry Berenson). Rudolph keeps the backstory mostly ambiguous until the third act of the movie, focusing instead on Chaplin as her character enacts various small acts of revenge. Emily is haunted – Rudolph layers sounds of slamming doors and jangling keys to evoke memories of prison, and shows us Emily struggling to sleep while an old melodrama hovers on the TV behind her. But Rudolph is less interested in Emily’s past than in her fascinatingly uncertain and always potentially violent inhabitation of the present moment. Jonathan Rosenbaum has aptly described Chaplin’s performance as one that “endows the film with a strange criss-cross of moods: her fey, unpredictable mannerisms become the defensive gestures of the ex-convict; her wistfully freakish ‘outsider’ quality becomes the vengeful deviousness of the social outcast.”17 The film’s mise-en-scène – which mainly alternates between the working-class suburbs of Southern California where Neil and Barbara live, and the various incomplete structures that Neil’s construction crew is building – suggests the tensions between a present life and the remaining beams of an incomplete and now past one. It’s Chaplin that keeps us attuned to the emotional undercurrents of both, as her character struggles to exorcise a lost love as she quietly stalks Perkins through the landscape. Rudolph’s attention remains fixed on Chaplin’s nuances of performance that accumulate an irresistible strangeness; the overall portrait built from these moments is of a woman grown weary of her life’s script, choosing now to exist on the edge of life.

Alan Rudolph

Geraldine Chaplin and Anthony Perkins in Remember My Name

The Past Just Don’t Matter (1980-1988)

Rudolph’s plan after Remember My Name was to direct The Moderns, his screenplay about artists in 1920s Paris.18 Financing for that film would take another decade, and the next two films Rudolph was able to make (after the poor distribution of Welcome to L.A. and Remember My Name) were more mainstream efforts. Roadie tells of a Texas naïf (played by Meat Loaf) who journeys westward to California, becoming the titular roadie to Blondie, Alice Cooper, and various other bands. This strange mix of coming-of-age tale, slapstick comedy, and concert movie was followed by Endangered Species (1982), a conspiracy tale and paranoid political thriller about nuclear testing in the United States. Rudolph was initially enthusiastic about Endangered Species, but the film suffered from studio interference.19 A return to more suitable ground found Rudolph making Return Engagement (1983), a documentary about a speaking tour involving G. Gordon Liddy and Timothy Leary. Although these relatively impersonal projects suggest a wrong turn after Welcome to L.A. and Remember My Name, they were nevertheless the beginning of an important working relationship with producer Carolyn Pfeiffer, who would shepherd six of the films Rudolph made in the ‘80s and provide him a degree of career security after Altman’s sale of Lion’s Gate films early in the decade.20

The partnership with Pfeiffer would produce three of Rudolph’s most memorable films: Choose Me, Trouble in Mind, and The Moderns. All involve romances that intersect with works of cinema, music, painting, and sculpture, objects lingering around the edges of the characters’ lives. Choose Me depicts the tortured romance between Eve (Lesley Ann Warren), the proprietor of Eve’s Lounge, and Mickey (another of Carradine’s flirty bachelor characters). Complicating this courtship is the presence of Dr. Nancy Love (Geneviève Bujold), who is forthright in her advice to lovers on her popular talk radio show but circumspect in her own romances. Love’s radio show (to which Eve is a committed listener) provides the film a structural center for its complicated entanglements, and also suggests the extent to which characters in Choose Me continue to rely on external interventions as they negotiate their relationships, as do the various paintings of men and women decorating both Eve’s bar and her home. References to cinema in the film come mainly from Pearl (Rae Dawn Chong), one of Mickey’s lovers, whose apartment is decorated with posters of Classical Hollywood movies. Only Chaplin’s character in Welcome to L.A. matches Pearl in Rudolph’s work with this kind of fervent cinephilia, but where Chaplin made Garbo the centerpiece of her performance of everyday life, in Choose Me movie posters (decorating as they do the space of Mickey’s and Pearl’s one-night stand) feel more like souvenirs of bygone moments, or failed romances. Not surprisingly, Mickey and Eve finally choose to leave this world behind, eloping under cover of night at the end of the film.

Alan Rudolph

Keith Carradine and Lesley Ann Warren in Choose Me

If the characters in Choose Me work to discard past identities and objects, figures in Trouble in Mind – Rudolph’s take on the neo-noir crime film – accrue multiple identities. The film involves a journey from country to city and then back again, as struggling married couple Georgia (Lori Singer) and Coop (Carradine) travel to Rain City (a fictional and vaguely dystopian metropolis played by Seattle). Both quickly become knotted in a romantic web: Georgia, in a slowly burning relationship with ex-cop and ex-con Hawk (Kristofferson), just released from prison; and Coop, in a life of crime with partner Solo (Joe Morton), a poet whose main business, when he is not sitting in a diner reciting verse, involves selling pilfered aesthetic objects to crime boss Hilly Blue (Divine). At the center of this, again, is Geneviève Bujold, playing Wanda, Hawk’s ex-lover, who owns a small breakfast diner where she can, as she says, “watch the sun rise.” All of the characters forge new personas through their adoption of aesthetic sensibilities: Georgia, through changing her clothing with the fashionable recommendations of Wanda; Coop, through his new self-styling as a glam-rock gangster; and Hawk, through the miniature models of the buildings and streets of Rain City that he has built while in prison, which in moments of private reverie allow him to circle above the fates of friends and enemies. The film culminates in a shootout at Hilly Blue’s mansion; the gangster’s cherished sculptures and paintings, sold to him through Solo and Coop’s scheme, are destroyed and torn apart by bullets and falling bodies. Richard Ness has described this comically arcane sequence as “a chaotic, absurdist vision of a destructive society – a society in which everyone seems to own a gun and where even the violence is an emotionless response” – although the emotional sway of the film’s final moments, a sunset drive accompanied by Marianne Faithfull’s soaring rendition of Kristofferson’s song “El Gavilan (The Hawk)”, insists on the romantic couple’s ability to successfully escape from this violent world.21

Alan Rudolph

Divine and Kris Kristofferson, among the artifacts, in Trouble in Mind

The high point of Rudolph’s eighties is The Moderns, a self-consciously artificial recreation of 1920s Paris, and also something of a crescendo in the director’s exploration of the relationship between love and art. Carradine plays Nick Hart, a struggling American painter whose main source of income is as cartoonist and art forger. He is hired by society woman Nathalie de Ville (Chaplin), who has him copy three of her treasured paintings (a Cézanne, a Matisse, and a Modigliani) so she can swap them out with the originals before her soon-to-be ex-husband absconds with them. While he sets out to copy the artworks, the modernist theme of the relationship between original and copy is played out in personal terms through the reappearance of Rachel (Linda Fiorentino), Hart’s ex-lover, with whom he attempts to recreate a lost romance. The most memorable sequence in the film shows us Rachel’s current lover, the cynical art collector Stone (John Lone), throwing a society party in celebration of his latest acquisitions, which are in fact Natalie De Ville’s three originals. De Ville, of course, doesn’t know this – she has sent Hart’s forgeries to be housed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, thinking them authentic. When De Ville convinces Stone he has purchased fakes, he destroys them, a variation on Trouble in Mind’s climactic destruction of art.

This scene in The Moderns is among the most deeply resonant in Rudolph’s career, particularly in the way it asks us to think through the relative originality of Rudolph’s filmmaking – once again, through its relationship to that mentor with whom he is often compared, Robert Altman. Stone’s art party is the kind of scene a viewer might expect in an Altman film: it recreates a social milieu – the critics, connoisseurs, and cognoscenti of the Paris art world, gathered here to look at paintings; it is realised through an emphasis on layers of performance, initially presented through the long take with which the sequence begins, and through a reverse tracking-shot that gradually reveals layers of space; and, like much of the film, it all unfolds in a slightly dreamy atmosphere, quietly reminiscent of the Altman of McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), Three Women (1977), and Quintet (1979). Yet Rudolph’s approach transcends mere imitation of a master. Where Altman might have dialogue overlap in a multi-track cacophony, for example, Rudolph, in this sequence and in much of the film, has his actors cleanly alternate between spoken lines of dialogue, an approach that preserves the edges that separate one character, and one character’s social distinction, from another (in this film as in Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, our sense of social hierarchy is crucial). And, again, Rudolph begins with details rather than whole pictures: as the camera tracks backward (beginning on a close shot of a nude painting, the eyes of the female figure in the work directly addressing Rudolph’s viewer like a character from Welcome to L.A.), different characters are progressively introduced without the sequence ever settling into a shot that gathers all of the psychological and spatial interest into one image. The result is an accumulation of details that, despite the film’s ostensible depiction of a society, never coalesces into the collective picture that is often the point of departure or occasional resting point in Altman’s films. This approach again illustrates Rudolph’s interest in the little characters; the milieus of his films, rarely graspable in a single image, always seem at just one remove, emotional states of mind rather than precise points in space.

Alan Rudolph

The destruction of art in The Moderns

Tomorrow Won’t Mind (1990 – 2003)

The late 1980s and early 1990s resulted in Songwriter, Made in Heaven, and Mortal Thoughts, all engaging studio projects to which Rudolph brings a confident style, and Love at Large, which finds Rudolph reworking some of the themes and situations of his eighties romances. Where Rudolph’s style in the previous decade often involved a mise-en-scène decorated by movies, paintings, and sculpture, literature often looms in his ‘90s films, especially in the already mentioned Equinox, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, and Breakfast of Champions, which all involve writing and authorship as salient themes. Words flow freely and comically, too, through Trixie (2000), which features Emily Watson as a private detective whose loquacious misuse of the English language suggests an ironic take on the screwball comedy.

But the heart of Rudolph’s late work is Afterglow. The film’s title and its subject matter position it as something of a melancholy coda to Rudolph’s earlier romances. Afterglow tells of two couples: ex-actress Phyllis Mann (Julie Christie) and her current husband, philandering handyman Lucky Mann (Nick Nolte); and businessman Jeffrey Byron (Jonny Lee Miller) and his stir-crazy wife Marianne Byron (Lara Flynn Boyle). Underlying and parallel tensions exist in the lives of these couples: for the Manns, it is the lingering memory of Phyllis’ runaway daughter (the child of one of her earlier lovers); for the Byrons, it is their disagreement about whether or not to have a child, accompanied by each lover’s sexual frustrations. Jeffrey has little desire for Marianne, and instead admires older women, who free him from the threat of procreation and whom he is free to admire almost as if they are preserved aesthetic objects (a predilection that leads him almost naturally to fall for the older and now child-free Phyllis, whom he meets while spying on his wife at a bar).

Alan Rudolph

Lara Flynn Boyle and Nick Nolte in Afterglow

Afterglow has been rightly celebrated for Christie’s performance.22 But as my brief description suggests, the film also continues the director’s intelligent exploration of the reflexive relationship between love and art, with a particular focus here on architecture and interior design. The characters’ various predicaments are expressed through their relationship to space and its possible bodily consequences: Jeffrey, tempting suicide as he declares his desire for unconventional, “impossible” love, walking on the edge of his office building as if on a tightrope; Marianne, rearranging and redecorating the modernist aesthetics of her sleek condominium once she makes the decision to split from Jeffrey; and Lucky, whose work as handyman knocking down walls for Marianne’s redecoration project leads to their love affair. Only the contemplative Phyllis, played languorously by Christie, suggests a lack of desire to intervene in the aesthetics of a living space: pining for her lost daughter, Christie lingers instead in the past, watching herself in old movies on her small television screen. Her desperate cry in Nolte’s arms at the end of the film suggests, finally, the emotional outpouring of a character who can no longer find solace in art or its memory. Here Rudolph, having gotten close to all the characters at one point or another in Afterglow, takes his distance once again, panning dreamily away from Phyllis’ anguished cry to her open bedroom window in the final shot of the film, lingering on a hazy image of a woman who stands outside – possibly her returned daughter, but perhaps also just a dream.

Alan Rudolph

The past returned, or perhaps just a dream, in Afterglow


In September 2016, Rudolph’s most recent film is 2003’s The Secret Lives of Dentists, a dark comedy about a married couple (the dentists of the title) whose comfortable suburban life goes through the pains of mid-life crises and neurotic self-questioning. While the film’s main theme involves the thin line between reality and dream, Secret Lives also continues to demonstrate Rudolph’s interest in the links between love and art: the wife in the couple, played by Hope Davis, takes solace in opera music. Rudolph’s underrated and visually inventive comedy Investigating Sex (2001) – loosely inspired by José Pierre’s study of the relationship between surrealism and sex – returns the director to a more salient concern with the connection between human desire and art; as its characters discuss their thoughts on sex, they sit among paintings and sculptures that would likely have also piqued the interest of Hilly Blue in Trouble in Mind.

At the time of writing, Rudolph has just finished filming his first film in thirteen years – Ray Meets Helen – which reunites Choose Me’s leads, Keith Carradine and Lesley Ann Warren.23 The modern romance continues. 


Premonition (aka The Impure), 1972

Terror Circus (aka Barn of the Naked Dead, aka Nightmare Circus), 1973

Welcome to L.A. (1976)

Remember My Name (1978)

Roadie (1980)

Endangered Species (1982)

Return Engagement (1983)

Choose Me (1984)

Songwriter (1985)

Trouble in Mind (1986)

Made in Heaven (1987)

The Moderns (1988)

Love at Large (1990)

Mortal Thoughts (1991)

Equinox (1993)

Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994)

Afterglow (1997)

Breakfast of Champions (1999)

Trixie (2000)

Investigating Sex (aka Intimate Affairs, 2001)

The Secret Lives of Dentists (2003)

Ray Meets Helen (in post-production)

Select Bibliography

Brian Baxter, “Happy with Trouble,” Films and Filming (September 1986): pp. 26-27.

Rosetta Brooks, “Soul City: Rosetta Brooks Talks with Alan Rudolph,” Artforum (January 1993): pp. 56-62.

Richard Combs, “Joyce and Fitzgerald Never Robbed a Bank,” Monthly Film Bulletin (March 1989): pp. 67-69.

Stephen Farber, “Five Horsemen After the Apocalypse,” Film Comment 21, no. 4 (July-August 1985): pp. 32-35.

Sharon Gravett, “‘Boats Against the Current’: The Presence of the Past in The Moderns,” Post Script (Winter Spring-1994): pp. 28-34.

Karen Jaehne, “Time for The Moderns,” Film Comment (April 1988): pp. 24-29.

Ernest Larsen, “Remember My Name: Not a Through Street,” Jump Cut 20 (May 1979): pp. 1 and 12.

Tom Milne, “As Suggestive as a Neon Orchid,” Sight and Sound (Summer 1985): pp. 214-216.

Richard Ness, Alan Rudolph (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1996).

David Rensin, “The Man Who Would Be Different,” American Film 11, no. 5 (March 1986): pp. 53.

Eva Rueschmann, “Desire and Loss in Alan Rudolph’s The Moderns,” Literature/Film Quarterly 22, no. 2 (1994): pp. 57-61.

Alan Rudolph, “Add Romance a Crazed World,” Monthly Film Bulletin (August 1985): pp. 264.

Alan Rudolph, “Disneyland by Night,” Film Comment 13, no. 1 (January-February 1977): pp. 10-13.

Dan Sallitt, “Alan Rudolph, 1985”, Thanks for the Use of the Hall, 19 August 2016 sallitt.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/alan-rudolph-1985.html

Gavin Smith, “Alan Rudolph: I Don’t Have a Career, I Have a Careen,” Film Comment 29, no. 3 (May 1993): pp. 59-71.

“Welcome to Lion’s Gate: Interviews with Director Alan Rudolph and Composer Richard Baskin,” Film Heritage 12, no. 1 (Fall 1976): pp. 1-17.



  1. David Rensin, “The Man Who Would Be Different,” American Film 11.5 (March 1986), p. 53.
  2. Richard Combs makes this point in “Welcome to L.A.,” Monthly Film Bulletin 44.525 (October 1977), pp. 526-527.
  3. Altman’s admiration for his performers is documented in many interviews over the years. See, for example, George Stevens, Jr., “Robert Altman,” in Conversations at the American Film Institute with the Great Moviemakers: The Next Generation from the 1950s to Hollywood Today, Stevens, Jr., ed. (New York: Random House), pp. 7–8.
  4. Anthony D’Alessandro, “Collaborating with the Master: Colleagues Talk of Filmmaker’s Method, and His Influence on Their Work,” Variety, 10 December 2001, A7.
  5. Robert T. Self, Robert Altman’s Subliminal Reality (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002), pp. viii.
  6. “Disneyland by Night,” Film Comment 13.1 (January-February 1977), p. 13.
  7. Carolyn Kelley, “Rudolph’s Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle: Film Form and Parker’s Poetic Legacy,” in Verse, Voice, and Vision: Poetry and the Cinema, ed. Marlisa Santos (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2013), pp. 15-26.
  8. Geoff Andrew, “Welcome to L.A.” in Time Out (undated), http://www.timeout.com/us/film/welcome-to-la-1976.
  9. Gavin Smith, “Alan Rudolph: I Don’t Have a Career, I Have a Careen,” Film Comment 29.3 (May 1993), p. 63.
  10. “Add Romance and a Crazed World: An Interview with Alan Rudolph,” Monthly Film Bulletin 52.619 (August 1985), p. 264.
  11. Richard Ness, Alan Rudolph (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1996), p. xx
  12. “Disneyland by Night,” p. 11.
  13. Ness, pp.1-2.
  14. Ness, p. 95.
  15. Combs, “Welcome to L.A.”, p. 217
  16. Ness, p. 23.
  17. Jonathan Rosenbaum, “Remember My Name,” Monthly Film Bulletin 46.540 (January 1979), p. 11.
  18. Richard Trainor, “The Moderns,” in Monthly Film Bulletin 57.4 (Autumn 1988), p. 233.
  19. Smith, pp. 69-70.
  20. Rudolph, along with actor/composer Richard Baskin, discusses the impact of Lion’s Gate to his early work as a filmmaker in an important early interview, “Welcome to Lion’s Gate: Interviews with Director Alan Rudolph and Composer Richard Baskin,” Film Heritage 12.1 (Fall 1976), pp. 1-17. Altman sold Lion’s Gate in 1981.
  21. Ness, p. 54.
  22. See, for example, Janet Maslin, “The Embers of Long Marriage, Still Warm Despite Flames Elsewhere,” The New York Times, 25 December 1997, http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9E01E2D9103EF936A15751C1A961958260.
  23. Dave McNary, “Lesley Ann Warren, Keith Carradine Starring in ‘Ray Meets Helen,’ Variety, 26 January 2016, http://variety.com/t/ray-meets-helen/. Carradine confirms in the following article that the film wrapped shooting in July 2016: Will Harris, “Keith Carradine on Deadwood, Fargo, and Madonna,” The AV Club, 20 July 2016, http://www.avclub.com/article/keith-carradine-deadwood-fargo-and-madonna-239258

About The Author

Steven Rybin is Assistant Professor of Film Studies in the English department at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He is the author of Gestures of Love: Romancing Performance in Classical Hollywood Cinema (SUNY Press, forthcoming) and editor of The Cinema of Hal Hartley: Flirting with Formalism (Wallflower Press, 2016), among other books, book chapters, and articles.

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