(aka 'Tanner: A Political Fable')

directed by Robert Altman
USA 1988


 During the 1988 presidential campaign, Democratic hopefuls spiritedly canvass the country, jostle for their party’s nomination and the honor of opposing Republican Vice president George Bush, when Senator Jack Tanner, suddenly emerges from the shadows of a lengthy political hiatus to challenge candidates such as Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart, and Michael Dukakis. Filmmaker Robert Altman and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau created this mock-documentary television miniseries, which brought a fictitious presidential candidate out on the campaign trail and shed a revelatory light on America’s political process and landscape.

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DVD Review: Criterion (2 disc) - Region 1- NTSC

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Distribution Criterion Collection (Spine # 258) - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime Approx 6.5 hours
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.93 mb/s + 5.46 mb/s - avg. - 5.20 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Disc 1


Disc 2

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• New video discussion between series creators Robert Altman and Garry Trudeau
• Essays by film critic Michael Wilmington, video critic/curator Michael Nash, and culture critic Garry Kornblau

DVD Release Date: October 5, 2004

Single Keep Case with extra flap to hold 2nd disc
Chapters: 11 Episodes


I suspect as a 'mock-umentary' Altman intended it to look quite rough to help with a 'genuine' appearance. It is as good as the source material would let it be. Even though with its 'TV edge' I think I can see some grain and colors are quite bright. For a lower-tier priced, 2 disc, Criterion there is a ton of entertainment value here. Definitely worth a pick-up for Altman fans. I would imagine anyone with even a remote understanding of the U.S. political process would get a big laugh out of much of it. out of    

Gary W. Tooze

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Gary Tooze