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This movie tells the intersecting stories of various people connected to the music business in Nashville. Barbara Jean is the reigning queen of Nashville but is near collapse. Linnea and Delbert Reese have a shaky marriage and 2 deaf children. Opal is a British journalist touring the area. These and other stories come together in a dramatic climax. Written by
I saw Nashville when it was first shown, billed as Altman's "birthday card" to America on the occasion of the bicentennial. The greatest tribute I can pay is that, despite its frequent shifts of location, many individual scenes and characterizations, as well as the overarching story line, remained vivid in my mind over the years before I was able to purchase the film on video. When I taught Film History at my college I used Nashville as the final examination for the course. After having viewed the film, students were instructed to identify the elements of film technique previously studied(such as overlapping dialogue, jump shots, widescreen, etc) in order to forward the narrative, as they were employed by Altman. In general, they did very well; even those who disliked the film. There are too many admirable performances for me to mention; however, those that remained most vivid in my mind over the years were those of Gwen Welles, Ronee Blakley, Henry Gibson, and Lily Tomlin. One last note of appreciation regards the fact that all the characters were introduced within the first twenty minutes at the airport; their personalities brought out in the highway scene;and their being brought together again, cyclically, during the last twenty minutes at the "Parthenon". It has been several years since I used Nashville for pedagogical purposes. When I purchased the DVD recently I found that, despite my numerous viewings and classroom analysis, the impact was virtually the same as when I first saw it in 1976. For me, it did not "murder to dissect" this personal milestone.
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