Episode 027: Altered States


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The recent passing of actor William Hurt resulted in two common themes in the assessment of his life and career: he was a brilliant actor, and very often a terrible person. Which means it's somewhat appropriate this his first film role was as an extremely imperfect man who is driven to succeed in his field.

Altered States inhabits an interesting place in the history of cinema. A relatively big-budget film directed by a director who was, at best, on the fringes of the mainstream, and written by a writer who, in an extremely rare instance, arguably had more creative control over the project than the director, Altered States was destined to be something that wasn't quite like anything audiences had seen before - or, arguably, have seen since.

In this episode, we discuss the history of the film - including the clashes between director Ken Russell and writer Paddy Chayefsky, and debate the ultimate meaning of a movie that creates more questions than it answers, and ultimately leaves the audience seeking a deeper truth - not unlike Eddie Jessup himself.

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