Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 1984
Country: United States
Run Time: 90 minutes


The iconoclastic director of such wildly appreciated works as "M*A*S*H," "Nashville" and "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" periodically turns his probing camera toward more controversial subjects and with SECRET HONOR Robert Altman has certainly achieved his most provocative film to date. The third in his recent series of films transfered from the stage, SECRET HONOR surpasses "Come Back To The 5 & Dime," "Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" and "Streamers" in both intimacy and dynamic force. The film is subtitled "A Political Myth" and depicts former President Richard M. Nixon alone in his study, dictating into a tape recorder what is described as a "fictional meditation." The expletives are undeleted as Nixon alternately rants, raves and whimpers in defense of his actions to his dead mother and a judge. Drinking, toying with a pistol, Nixon does a madman's song and dance and takes verbal swipes at the portraits on the wall in wild desperation - his dizzying image repeated on 4 closed circuit TV screens. Philip Baker Hall's uncanny, tour-de-force performance suspends the viewer, hypnotized, between revulsion and an involuntary spasm of pity for the man who claims he chose "secret honor, public shame" for the good of his country. The film raises as many questions about the Presideny as it does Nixon.

"A bravura, burningly intense performance that almost blows you out of the theater. . .SECRET HONOR is a knockout." -Los Angeles Weekly

"One of the most scathing, lacerating and brilliant movies of the year." -Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Hall is Lear, Lady Macbeth, Blanche Dubois and Willy Loman somehow rolled into one. . .a mesmerizing piece of work." -Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times

Donald Freed, Arnold M. Stone

Robert Altman

Pierre Mignot

Juliet Weber

Principal Cast
Philip Baker Hall

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