Perfect Couple, A (1979): Altman’s Incoherent, Messy Romantic Comedy

One of Robert Altman’s least known (for good reason) and least interesting movie, A Perfect Couple is sort of a romantic-comedy, starring characters actors, such as Paul Dooley, Marta Heflin, Titos Vandis, and Belita Moreno, in lead roles.

Alex (Dooley), an older man, tries romancing a younger woman (Marta Heflin), who’s a member of travelling band of bohemian musicians that perform in outdoor arenas around the country. He joins them on the road and tries to fit into their communal lifestyle.

The role of Sheila Shea was originally written for Sandy Dennis, a cat-lover. Allan Nicholls re-wrote the role of Sheila Shea from an Earth Mother type to the young singer-groupie played by Marta Heflin.

The band depicted in the film, Keepin’ ‘Em Off the Streets, was a real group of actors and singers who had worked with Nicholls on Broadway musicals. After splitting, they reunited for the film.

Paul Dooley as Alex Theodopoulos
Marta Heflin as Sheila Shea
Titos Vandis as Panos Theodopoulos
Belita Moreno as Eleousa
Henry Gibson as Fred Bott
Dimitra Arliss as Athena
Allan F. Nicholls as Dana 115
Ann Ryerson as Skye 147 Veterinarian
Poppy Lagos as Melpomeni Bott
Dennis Franz as Costa
Margery Bond as Wilma
Mona Golabek as Mona
Joel Crothers as Ben
Susan Blakeman as Penelope Bott
Melanie Bishop as Star