Robert Altman’s Quintet, starring Paul Newman, was released in 1979 and was both a critical and box office failure.
From Altman On Altman:
With the planet overwhelmed by a new ice age, and finding no more seals to hunt, Essex returns with his pregnant partner Vivia to the city he left ten years before. Outside, dogs feed on the carcasses of the old and sick; inside, the population are absorbed by a board game called Quintet in which the object is to kill one’s opponents.
Even Pauline Kael, usually an Altman supporter, responded negatively: “Altman has reached the point of wearing his failures like medals. He’s creating a mystique of heroism out of emptied theaters.”
However the movie does have its fans:
Altman’s third masterpiece of the 70s, Quintet is a visually and sonically spectacular study of a world in its final throes of death, both spiritual and physical. Requiring multiple viewings to fully appreciate, even a first-time viewer will languish in the unparalleled cinematic splendor of a darkening frozen world where life has lost all meaning. Unbelievably, Quintet was released the same year as Tarkovsky’s Stalker, making 1979 one of the greatest years ever in cinematic history.
The image above is the first page of the rules for the game Quintet included in the press kit. It can be found here along with an interview with Altman from Fantastic Films in which he reveals Walter Hill was originally intended to direct before he “got onto The Driver”and details the custom filters used to blur the edges of the frame. (Special bonus! An Architectural Digest spread of the Altmans’ apartment in NYC.)