Eye For Film >> Movies >> A Wedding (1978) DVD Review
Reviewed by: Gary DuncanRead Gary Duncan's film review of A Wedding
If you're looking for bloopers, out-takes or crash-bang-wallop FX pyrotechnics then you've come to the wrong place. A Wedding isn't that kind of film and Robert Altman isn't that kind of director. What we get instead is a one on one with the great man himself, and that'll do very nicely. At just 15 minutes, though, it could have been longer.
The premise for A Wedding was simple enough. "Take any two families and try to put them together in a ceremony and there's going to be fireworks," Altman says. His own role in proceedings was very hands-off. He calls himself a "ring master", which means he delegated. There wasn't even a script to work with. Scenes were loosely mapped out in advance and actors were encouraged to improvise. Vittorio Gassman, who plays the Italian father of the groom, was given free rein with most of his scenes. "Where possible, I wanted all of his scenes to be in Italian," Altman explains. "Well I don't know Italian, so he wrote the scenes himself."
Altman does admit to a few errors of judgement. The cast was too big, and he makes no bones about the fact that it was his fault. "We had 24 characters in Nashville, and I said we'll do 48 [for A Wedding], so we just made an arbitrary number."
An operatic version of the film was staged in the USA with Altman's cooperation, and the cast was cut back to just 16 characters. The result? "In many ways it's an improvement," he admits.Reviewed on: 29 Aug 2005