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THE PLAYER Directed by Robert Altman; Screenplay by Michael Tolkin

Was Citizen Kane a box-office blockbuster? Did Jean Renoir get gross profit points on La Grande Illusion? And Fellini, did he go way over budget on 8 1/2?

The answers are No, No, and Who cares. Generations of directors, on Hollywood's movie-factory treadmill and in Europe's atelier system, made movies without having to fret that $100 million was riding on the outcome. And generations of moviegoers were privileged to sit in the innocence of a dark theater without having to study the list of weekend grosses like a tout sheet. Who...

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