A Brewster McCloud Review by Wayne R. Roberts

Brewster McCloud Soars Again
In the Astrodome, 1970.

A Brewster McCloud Review

By Wayne R. Roberts

Thank you, Wayne, for including me as a recipient of an e-mail that was really an Astrodome and Houston history column that cried out loudly for publication. ~ i.e., Welcome to The Pecan Park Eagle as another fine contributing author! ~ Bill McCurdy, Publisher.

I’ve been waiting for 12 years to get Brewster McCloud from Netflix but for some reason they haven’t carried it.  I was tipped that it is now available on Amazon in a new remastered DVD and ordered it.

In the event you haven’t seen it I’ll spare telling the plot of this surrealistic film made in Houston in 1970 by legendary director Robert Altman.  Never his most popular flick, it apparently was done immediately after MASH and uses many actors that appear  over ad over in Altman movies: Bud Cort, Sally Kellerman, Michael Murphy, John Schuck, and Stacey Keach and introduces Shelley Duvall who Altman discovered in early film preparation when she was a clerk in the Greenspoint Mall Foley’s.  It also includes Margaret Hamilton who was the wicked witch in, yes, The Wizard of Oz.

Not particularly politically correct (was Altman ever?), it is a must for those who lived in Houston at that time.  For me, the shots in Astroworld are breathtaking—made in the area in which I groundskept, though not when I was there.

Quickly, here’s what I took away in this first viewing in 20 years, in no particular order:

  • Houston skyline, whoa, was it different
  • The Medical Center sure was smaller
  • Chase scenes occur in the South Main, Loop 610, OST area and the cow pastures and fields are shocking
  • Brewster lives in the bomb shelter in the Dome
  • Incredible behind the scenes shots of the Dome
  • On the radio: Hudson & Harrigan and KILT news
  • 1970 Houston Chronicle
  • Drive along South Main includes Ye Olde College Inn
  • North Main includes the old M&M Cotton Exchange (now UH-Downtown)
  • Love Street/Allen’s Landing
  • Astroworld Hotel exterior and rooms
  • Astrodome gift shop, Domeskeller, The Countdown Cafeteria
  • Houston Zoo
  • Game shots of the Astros from the screen where you passed to go from the outfield bleachers to the Mezzanine (or tried to sneak through)
  • Weingarten’s in Montrose
  • Mecom Fountain
  • Pre rehab buildings along Montrose Blvd
  • Uncrowded freeways—many many driving scenes of downtown and SW Houston, OST-Fannin area chase scenes
  • Humble and Esso gas stations
  • Brays Bayou
  • Allen Parkway at early Tranquility Park (I think that’s its name)

For us old-timers, this is a must watch.

This is worth a more elaborate McCurdy report after you see it!

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

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2 Responses to “A Brewster McCloud Review by Wayne R. Roberts”

  1. Wayne Roberts Says:

    Shucks, if I’d have known you were going to do this I’d have polished it some. Nonetheless, the movie is a hoot for those of us who lived in Houston back then. The opening scene includes a 1970 panorama shot of the Houston skyline and the medical center leading to the Dome and Astroworld. It only gets better from there.

  2. Tom Hunter Says:

    I was sitting in my car, waiting to pick up my girlfriend who worked as an usher at the Astrodome, when I heard police sirens and several speeding cars approaching the spot where I was parked.

    My first thought was that something terrible had happened inside the Dome, since I had been near The Drag in Austin when Charles Whitman opened fire from the Tower. Before I could react, I heard what I thought was the word,”Cut!”

    When I went to see Brewster McCloud and saw the cars approaching the Astrodome, I thought I would see my movie debut. However, the scene shifted to the inside of the Dome. I must have ended up on the cutting room floor.

    I seem to remember one scene that was shot at UH.

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