It is difficult to find a movie critic who doesn’t acknowledge the impact of Leonard Cohen’s songs on Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller. A representative observation follows:
Watching Altman’s film, it becomes obvious that Cohen’s songs preternaturally fit each film they slide into, as if the words were meant for each scene (even if that same song is used over and over again in different worlds, scenarios, and films).1
In this video, Altman, who died in 2006, is interviewed sometime in the late 1990s on Elvis Mitchell‘s Independent Focus program.
Along with comments about censorship, recruiting Cher to play in Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, why he was fed up with Hollywood, and more, Altman tells how he came to realize, after filming was completed, that he wanted music from Songs Of Leonard Cohen on the soundtrack of McCabe & Mrs. Miller, how he tracked down the Canadian singer-songwriter, and why Cohen’s enthusiastic response was key.
Note: The video should begin automatically at the pertinent portion of the program (about 12:14). The material about Leonard Cohen lasts 4-5 minutes. The entire Altman interview, however, is worth watching.
Independent Focus with Robert Altman
Also See “I got this call from a chap called Robert Altman. And he says, ‘Listen, you know, I love those songs, I’ve built a film around them, can I use them?’ I said, ‘Who are you?’” How Leonard Cohen’s Appreciation Of Brewster McCloud Prompted Him To Sign On For McCabe & Mrs Miller
I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted July 29, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.
- Your Guide to the Cinematic Life of Musician Leonard Cohen by Monika Bartyzel. Posted 27 June 2012 at Movies.com [↩]