Warren Beatty hadn’t heard of Robert Altman before the turbulent production of 1971’s McCabe and Mrs. Miller, and the first, final, and initially unloved movie they made together was nobody’s idea of a classic. Nearly 40 years later, the pairing of a pretty-boy producer/star and the visionary auteur behind the modern ensemble film makes more sense. The anti-establishment cred Altman earned with M*A*S*H prevented Beatty from turning into the bourgeois caricature he played on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, and the future almost-presidential-candidate gives the film a center some of Altman’s post-Nashville efforts lack. (Those who fell asleep during A Prairie Home Companion, you know who you are.) Throw in Julie Christie, a dubious view of Christianity, and a downbeat ending, and you’ve got a recipe for a gothic anti-Western not seen again in Hollywood until Unforgiven—and sure as hell not in shootouts like last year’s 3:10 to Yuma remake. MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER SHOWS AT 7 P.M. AT THE AFI SILVER THEATRE AND CULTURAL CENTER, 8633 COLESVILLE ROAD, SILVER SPRING. $10. (301) 495-6700.