20 November 2004 | email@example.com
There are many points the other reviewers missed.
I saw Quintet on a Sunday afternoon in Northbrook, IL in the winter of 1978-1979. There was so much snow plowed badly in the parking lot that I had a hard time finding a space. When I got to the theater there was a strange little notice hand printed on a 3x5 file card that there would be no refunds to Quintet once you had entered the theater. I asked the ticket seller why and he said that so many people had left during the previous night's performance that they almost had a riot.
I knew I was in for something special. As the movie began I noticed that there were credits for the original screenplay and then for the final screenplay. Dissension in the ranks. There was inadequate explanation of where Paul Newman and Bibi Anderson came from and why they were going to the city. Indeed, the idea of hosing down Expo '67 in the winter and allowing the icicles to freeze gave it an other-worldly appearance. (I think that could have been Altman's attraction to the project.) Living in the Midwest during the winter of '78-'79 made me very sensitive to freezing weather. I moved to California the next fall.
There are two last items to consider: the dogs and the fish. The city was home to dozens if not hundreds of dogs. They scavenged for meat (often human bodies.) The malaise affecting the human population disabled them from disposing of the human dead. And finally the fish. There are several shots showing fish being harvested and processed at the beginning of the film, showing that there was an adequate food source for the people who lived in the city.
And finally a mention of the Game: there was a feeling of depression to the movie and the inhabitants of the city. When cut off from a natural human life that includes the having and raising of children, one can get depressed. An aberrant lifestyle that made a game out of killing others might result.