There have been many heralded film duos in the last hundred years of cinema. One such collaboration that's slipped through the cracks is Shelley Duvall's work with director Robert Altman. Throughout their films, Altman's loose, almost voyeuristic directing style perfectly compliments Duvall's melodic, kooky characters.
- McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)--A tale of a town built around a whorehouse and a tavern in the 1800s, focusing on the relationship between excitable entrepreneur John McCabe (Warren Beatty) and madam Constance Miller (Julie Christie). Ms. Duvall plays Ida Coyle, a proper young woman brought to the town by her old codger husband. When the old bastard suddenly dies, Ida has no choice but to join Mrs. Miller in the brothel to earn her keep. Duval's slow transition from prissy newlywed to liberated woman is so stunning that she steals the movie from the titular characters.
- 3 Women (1977)--A truly terrifying piece of '70s Americana, this little-seen gem revolves around Millie Lammoreaux (Duvall), whose entire life is a delusion. Ceaselessly talking to people who don't listen, Millie has convinced herself she is the pinnacle of contemporary femininity. But Millie's life turns upside down when she takes in off-kilter roommate Pinky Rose (a nearly teenaged Sissy Spacek), who promptly takes a dive off the second floor balcony. Duvall's über-creepy, almost robotic portrayal of Millie is a cinematic masterwork of nuance and repression that's not to be missed.
- Popeye (1980)--This critically lambasted musical interpretation of the beloved comic strip is--surprisingly--a pretty great piece of artsy, slapstick-y fun. Featuring a nearly unrecognizable Robin Williams as Popeye and Duvall as the goofy and fumbling Olive Oyl, Altman creates a world that is pure cartoon. It's impossible not to sympathize with Duvall's Olive Oyl (especially considering her off-key voice) as she caricatures a woman stuck between loving two men: the alluring, spinach-lovin' Popeye and her brutish lover, Bluto (Paul L. Smith). Choices, choices.