6.3/10
3,529
44 user 31 critic

Kansas City (1996)

Trailer
2:06 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

Robert Altman's jazz-scored film explores themes of love, crime, race, and politics in 1930s Kansas City. When Blondie O'Hara's husband, a petty thief, is captured by Seldom Seen and held ... See full summary »

Director:

3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Conflict arises in the small town of Holly Springs when an old woman's death causes a variety of reactions among family and friends.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Glenn Close, Julianne Moore, Liv Tyler
Ready to Wear (1994)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

A chronicle of the interconnected lives of a group of people in the lead up to Paris Fashion Week.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Sophia Loren, Julia Roberts, Marcello Mastroianni
Streamers (1983)
Crime | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Four young soldiers waiting to be shipped to Viet Nam deal with racial tension and their own intolerance when one soldier reveals he's gay.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Matthew Modine, Michael Wright, Mitchell Lichtenstein
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

This is an insane and fast-paced romantic comedy about a bizarre dinner date among Bruce (Goldblum) and Prudence (Hagerty), and their lunatic therapists, and Bruce's jealous, gun-wielding ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Julie Hagerty, Jeff Goldblum, Glenda Jackson
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A repressed, middle-aged divorced U.S. Greek meets a young singer through a dating service and becomes smitten.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Paul Dooley, Marta Heflin, Titos Vandis
The Company (2003)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Ensemble drama centered around a group of ballet dancers, with a focus on one young dancer (Campbell) who's poised to become a principal performer.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Neve Campbell, James Franco, Malcolm McDowell
Fool for Love (1985)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

May is waiting for her boyfriend in a run-down American motel, when an old flame turns up and threatens to undermine her efforts and drag her back into the life that she was running away from. The situation soon turns complicated.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Sam Shepard, Kim Basinger, Harry Dean Stanton
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

O.C. and Stiggs aren't your average unhappy teenagers. They not only despise their suburban surroundings, they plot against it. They seek revenge against the middle class Schwab family, who embody all they detest: middle class.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Daniel Jenkins, Neill Barry, Jane Curtin
A Wedding (1978)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The daughter of a Louisville truck driver marries the scion of a very wealthy family, but reception at the family estate is boycotted by the invited guests.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Carol Burnett, Desi Arnaz Jr., Paul Dooley
Quintet (1979)
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

During a future ice age, dying humanity occupies its remaining time by playing a board game called "Quintet." For one small group, this obsession is not enough; they play the game with living pieces ... and only the winner survives.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Paul Newman, Vittorio Gassman, Fernando Rey
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Lawyer Rick Magruder has a one-night-stand affair with caterer Mallory Doss. He becomes hooked on her, and when he learns her nut-case father Dixon is threatening her, he puts the weight of... See full summary »

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Embeth Davidtz, Robert Downey Jr.
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The familiar tragic story of Vincent van Gogh is broadened by focusing as well on his brother Theodore, who helped support Vincent. The movie also provides a nice view of the locations which Vincent painted.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Tim Roth, Paul Rhys, Adrian Brine
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Henry Stilton
...
Johnny O'Hara
...
Johnny Flynn
...
Babe Flynn
...
Nettie Bolt
Jeff Feringa ...
Addie Parker
A.C. Tony Smith ...
Sheepshan Red (as A.C. Smith)
Martin Martin ...
'Blue' Green
Albert J. Burnes ...
Ajia Mignon Johnson ...
Pearl Cummings
...
Rally Speaker
Tawanna Benbow ...
Rose
Edit

Storyline

Robert Altman's jazz-scored film explores themes of love, crime, race, and politics in 1930s Kansas City. When Blondie O'Hara's husband, a petty thief, is captured by Seldom Seen and held at the Hey Hey Club, she launches a desperate plan to release him. She kidnaps the wife of a powerful local politician in an attempt to blackmail him into using his connections to free Johnny. Despite this being election time, he risks exposure by putting the political machine into action to free Johnny and thereby save his wife. Mrs. Stilton, meanwhile, has befriended Blondie and is impressed by her love and devotion to Johnny, especially in contrast to her own loveless marriage. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Kansas City, 1934. Anything could happen here. One night it did.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Music | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, and for some violence and drug use | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

16 August 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Канзас Сити  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$432,183 (USA) (16 August 1996)

Gross:

$1,292,527 (USA) (13 September 1996)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Parts of the Ship bar were salvaged and later used in a Kansas City bar of the same name. See more »

Goofs

After his wife is kidnapped by a robber's wife, Stilton uses a phone to enlist the aid of the governor to free the robber, who is being held by some Kansas City jazz club characters he ripped off. And the governor complies, even though Stilton never identifies the robber by name, the name of the people who were robbed or even the name of the club were the robber is being held captive. See more »

Quotes

Carolyn Stilton: [after being forced to reveal the pet names she and her husband use] What a terrible invasion of privacy!
Blondie O'Hara: Yeah, ain't it?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 78th Annual Academy Awards (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Fantastic Film with a Bonus of Great Music
27 April 2005 | by (Kentucky) – See all my reviews

Bottom line, whether you love or hate "Kansas City" will depend on your reaction to Jennifer Jason Leigh's performance. Leigh's character Blondie anchors the story as a desperate wife trying to save her husband from the gangsters he tried to rob. Leigh looks great in this role, she is fit and trim which makes her face cuter and her character more fragile looking. The contrast between her almost angelic appearance and her tough persona is intentional because the toughness is an affectation, qualities she has adopted because she loves her husband and they are a turn-on for him.

Her's is the key performance of the film, the twist is her emulation of Kansas City native Jean Harlow ("The Public Enemy" and "Girl from Missoui"). Watch Harlow in "Red Headed Woman" and you will see the incredible physical resemblance between the two actresses. Personally I found it both touching and humorous; her character worthy of the brave heroine hall of fame. But it is almost a caricature and some viewer will be put off by this tiny woman talking so tough.

As in "Nashville", there are great songs (but jazz rather than country) throughout the film. It is important to realize that "Blondie's" behavior is intended to mirror the "cutting contests" between the jazz musicians on-stage at the club. Just as the musicians borrow from one another and weave each others stuff into what they are improvising, "Blondie" borrows from the movies and weaves Harlow's tough girl phrases and expressions into her conversation.

Leigh and Miranda Richardson spend most of the film in each other's company. Although Richardson's character is doped up on laudanum (tincture of opium) most of the time, you get the idea that she is taking in a lot more of the situation than she is letting on. There is almost a "Thelma and Louise" quality to their relationship, in part because Leigh doing Harlow ends up sounding a lot like Geena Davis doing Geena Davis. The two women are polar opposites in the way they react to the desperation in their lives; one has lost all restraint, the other has lost everything but restraint.

Richardson's character is unexpectedly touching. An emotional bond is subtly forged between the two women as the film proceeds, with Richarson gradually becoming totally protective of her kidnapper. The ending is shocking but you understand the motivation, then looking back you pick up on the various foreshadowing devices that Altman placed throughout the film. He goes out with a bass duet of Duke Ellington's "Solitude" performed by Ron Carter and Christian McBride.

Like many films with downbeat endings, "Kansas City" is destined to be more appreciated 25 years after its release.


20 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
What is the date at which the movie is set? mouton1890
movie lonnellrobinson
real musicians spotted ... ctrl-z-jones
Odd question but is "Kansas City" ever actually uttered in this movie? calcaylor
Discuss Kansas City (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?