Brewster McCloud – Robert Altman (1970)

Brewster McCloud is a 1970 American black comedy film directed by Robert Altman. The film follows a young recluse (Bud Cort, as the title character) who lives in a fallout shelter of the Houston Astrodome, where he is building a pair of wings in order to fly. He is helped by his comely and enigmatic ‘fairy godmother,’ played by Sally Kellerman, as he becomes a suspect in a series of murders, of which a vain, haughty hot-shot detective lieutenant from San Francisco, played by Michael Murphy, soon becomes hot on his trail. The film opens with the usual MGM logo, but with a voice-over by René Auberjonois saying “I forgot the opening line” instead of the lion’s roar. As the opening credits roll, wealthy Houstonian Daphne Heap (Margaret Hamilton) begins to sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ on the field of the Astrodome, but stops the band, insisting that it’s off-key. The band and Daphne start again, while the credits begin again as well. Daphne, who has been off-key herself, insists that this take is much better, but she is surrounded by the young Black band members as we hear Merry Clayton singing an upbeat version of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ often called the ‘Black National Anthem.’ All this time, a woman (Sally Kellerman) in a trench coat has been watching from the stands. As the credits end, we see Brewster (Bud Cort), in an Astrodome fallout shelter, where a pet raven defecates on a newspaper headline about a speech by then-Vice President Spiro Agnew. Scenes are interspersed throughout the film of a Lecturer played by Auberjunois regales an audience including an enthusiastic young woman (Jennifer Salt) with a wealth of knowledge of the habits of birds, as he becomes increasingly birdlike himself. Owlish Brewster lives hidden and alone under the Houston Astrodome and dreams of creating wings that will help him fly like a bird. His only assistance comes from Louise (Sally Kellerman), a beautiful woman who wants to help. …”
An auteur and his flying machine: Brewster McCloud at 50
Reverse Shot
YouTube: Brewster Mccloud – Original Theatrical Trailer

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