Robert Altman

Secret Honor

Philip Baker Hall excels in Altman’s adaptation of a one-man play about Richard Nixon pondering his Watergate pardon in the Oval Office.

Image from Secret Honor

USA 1984
Dir Robert Altman
With Philip Baker Hall
90min
35mm
Certificate 15

Altman’s third theatrical adaptation was also his most audacious. Written by Donald Freed and Arnold M Stone, it offers a manic, foul-mouthed, self-serving rant by Richard Nixon, alone in the Oval Office as he ponders the pardon offered for the Watergate scandal. Philip Baker Hall is simply extraordinary, while Altman, enhancing the paranoid mood by confronting Nixon with surveillance video screens, creates a small masterpiece of mise-en-scène.

35mm print courtesy of the Robert Altman Collection at the UCLA Film & Television Archive.