Lesson 7 Research Activity
Off the Set

At the Movies: The Player

If there is a contemporary rival to Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles, it has to be Robert Altman. From M*A*S*H to Nashville, from The Player to Gosford Park, he has covered an eclectic range of subjects and each time displayed a prodigious art.

The Player is probably the best film ever made about contemporary Hollywood, and Altman has a lot of stylistic fun with the subject.

Student Materials

DVD player or VCR

DVD or VHS copy of The Player

Time Estimate

1 1/2 hours


Watch The Player while thinking about the following questions.

(Alternatively, watch the opening eight-minute tracking shot 10 or 12 times. It’s a film course in itself.)


Please post your responses to the following questions on the class message board.

  1. Writers, producers, studio execs, agents…which circle of hell does each belong to? What about actors? Grips?
  2. Will Jimmy recover from the accident? Where is he now?
  3. Why didn’t Buck Henry succeed in pitching The Graduate Part II?