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Watch: Lost 1951 Robert Altman Film 'Modern Football' (Video)

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by Maggie Lange
March 14, 2012 2:10 PM
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Robert Altman

Look closely and you will find traces of Robert Altman's signature cinematic approach in the just-discovered footage of his lost early film "Modern Football."  Produced in 1951 for the Kansas City film company Calvin, the 26-year-old Altman amusingly strings together the daily life of football players with their game. 

Discovered at a sprawling swap meet in Kansas City by filmmaker Gary Huggins, "Modern Football" was the most boring title, he said, in a pack of instructional films he had purchased for $10.  When he saw Altman's moniker, he transferred the 16-millimeter print and posted it publicly on YouTube.

Nearly two decades before directing his breakout "M.A.S.H.," Altman is experimenting here.  It's an instructional film, but Altman manages to work in a dream sequence, player psychology and hilariously blatant product placement.  See the early Altman foray here or below.
 

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