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A Perfect Couple (1979)

Trailer
2:26 | Trailer
A repressed, middle-aged divorced U.S. Greek meets a young singer through a dating service and becomes smitten.

Director:

Robert Altman
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Dooley ... Alex Theodopoulos
Marta Heflin ... Sheila Shea
Titos Vandis ... Panos Theodopoulos
Belita Moreno ... Eleousa
Henry Gibson ... Fred Bott
Dimitra Arliss ... Athena
Allan F. Nicholls ... Dana 115
Ann Ryerson ... Skye 147 Veterinarian
Poppy Lagos Poppy Lagos ... Melpomeni Bott
Dennis Franz ... Costa
Margery Bond Margery Bond ... Wilma
Mona Golabek Mona Golabek ... Mona
Terry Wills Terry Wills ... Ben
Susan Blakeman Susan Blakeman ... Penelope Bott
Melanie Bishop ... Star
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Storyline

Alex Theodopolous is a mid-40s, divorced Greek-American who has moved back to the spacious estate of his autocratic immigrant father, who is also his boss in the family's successful antique importing business. He meets Shiela Shea through a dating service, but their first date turns into an unmitigated disaster when they are caught in thundershower during an outdoor concert, and Alex's car malfunctions. Twenty-something Sheila is part of traveling rock band which lives a gypsy-like existence in a communal loft under their controlling leader. Can Alex and Shiela overcome cultural, age, and lifestyle differences and find happiness? Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What do you do when everything between the two of you seems wrong? ...fall in love.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 January 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Romance See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lion's Gate Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was cast with a number of Robert Altman stock players and regulars. See more »

Quotes

ER doctor: [to Alex] You've got to stay in bed for a while. Do you want somme pain killers?
Sheila Shea: Yes.
Alex Theodopoulos: No!
ER doctor: Some doctors don't like to give out painkillers, but when you've seen as much pain as I have, it makes you want to kill it.
ER doctor: [to both] I don't think you two should be kissing while I'm suturing,
See more »

Connections

References The Valley (Obscured by Clouds) (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Won't Somebody Care
Written by Tony Berg & Allan F. Nicholls
Performed by Marta Heflin
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Glorious Oddity, An Altman Gem
29 December 2006 | by mark_r_harrisSee all my reviews

I finally got around to seeing this for-many-years-as-good-as-lost Altman film, and I must say, I was extremely impressed. It is a highly unusual piece. Altman biographer Patrick McGilligan says "There is not another movie like it in the Altman canon," and he's not kidding; there is scarcely another movie like it in anyone's canon. The closest I can think of is George Romero's also criminally underrated There's Always Vanilla, which also deals with the arc of a romance between "ordinary" people with no touch of Hollywood iconography about them.

The film is conceived in terms of a number of binaries: two families, a rigidly patriarchal Greek family and a rock music collective with its own sort-of-patriarch; classical music and pop music, which join hands in the climax; a "perfect couple" of two decidedly imperfect, non-glamorous people, and a near-silent "imperfect couple" of two glamor-pusses, whose path repeatedly crosses that of the perfect couple, but in ways that only the audience perceives. (The perfect couple meets through a video dating service that is a direct precursor to the Internet dating services of our own day; that lends the film an oddly timely-contemporary touch.)

The rock music collective, Keeping 'Em Off the Streets, co-formed by Altman collaborator Allan Nicholls, actually existed and concertized a couple of times, but failed to win a recording contract. (The soundtrack was preserved on Altman's own Lion's Gate label; I recently scored a copy of this rare LP.) As many of the reviewers here at the IMDb enthuse, the music is quite delightful, and rather difficult to pigeonhole, with rock, pop, jazz, and theater music elements. There are a lot of musicians, a lot of singers, a lot of people (and even a dog) just hanging around, in somewhat elaborate and rather magical spaces (courtesy of master designer Leon Ericksen), and the musical numbers seem to emerge from the ambiance. The film is very driven by the songs.

Adding to the flavor of A Perfect Couple is a remarkably casual-positive attitude toward several gay and lesbian characters, so much so that Vito Russo singled the film out in his book The Celluloid Closet as being "special" for its era in its recognition of a "happy, well-adjusted" lesbian couple as a "family."

In the lead roles, Paul Dooley is remarkably winning, and Marta Heflin has a mysterious, somewhat withdrawn quality that suddenly announces itself forcefully in her one solo number, "Won't Somebody Care", which is also one of the great musical sequences in all of movies, if you ask me -- right up there with Keith Carradine's "I'm Easy" in Nashville.

The next forgotten Altman film that needs to be rehabilitated is H.E.A.L.T.H., which Helene Keyssar praises most interestingly in her book Robert Altman's America. I saw it only once many years ago and am eager to see it again.


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