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LACMA remembers its cameo in Robert Altman's 'The Player'

July 19, 2010 | 12:43 pm

Player In Robert Altman's 1992 movie "The Player," the fictional Hollywood studio where the slimy protagonist Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) plies his trade has the following motto emblazoned across its office walls: "Movies. Now more than ever!"

The slogan is bound to take on an added nuance when the Los Angeles County Museum of Art hosts a special screening of the movie on July 29 at the Bing Theatre. Altman's film contains a banquet scene that takes place on the LACMA campus in which Mill celebrates the museum's film department and his studio's donation of film prints to the institution.

In the scene, Mill cavorts with movie celebrities on the LACMA red carpet, including Cher, Nick Nolte, Sally Kellerman and others making cameo appearances.

The July 29 screening takes place at a time when the future of LACMA's film program is unclear. Last year, the museum decided it would shut down the 40-year-old weekend screening series, but reversed its decision following a public outcry. A grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press, Time Warner Cable and Ovation TV helped extend the life of the series.

As was reported in June, LACMA has stated that the film program will live on for another fiscal year, but museum president Melody Kanschat said it remains "in jeopardy."

LACMA's screening of "The Player" will include a short documentary film by Elvin Whitesides -- the former head of the museum's audio-visual department -- that was made during the filming of the Altman movie on the museum's campus.

The screening is being dedicated to Whitesides, who passed away in May.

Ian Birnie, the program's consulting curator, said the last time LACMA screened "The Player" was as part of "Robert Altman's America: A 30th Anniversary Retrospective" in 2000.

-- David Ng

Photo credit: Fine Line Features

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