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 »
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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>
Robert Altman gathered together some of the greatest living jazz musicians, put them on a set representing the Hey Hey Club and asked them to play period material in the style of the Kansas City jazz giants like Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. He filmed this separately after he had done the fictional plotline, and then intercut it with the narrative. See more »
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 »
I happen to like this film... apparently quite a bit more than most people. I even still have a copy of it on VHS somewhere. First and foremost is the music. Absolutely INCREDIBLE old time jazz. The best scene to me is clearly the 'battle' between the sax players at the club. The music in the club throughout the movie and the background score during the non-club scenes is about as good as it gets. And I'm not really a huge jazz guy though I have always liked the Miles Davis - John Coltrane type stuff. This is my favorite non - Angelo Badalamente (sp?)film score. Seriously, see this flick just for the music alone.
And, see it for Miranda Richardson who is AWESOME in this movie. I think she really steals the show in this one. J. Jason Leigh is solid and plays the part of a not too bright, not very successful midwest girl decently. Also, Harry Belafonte is great as Seldom Seen and he just looks and sounds the part so well. Steve Buscemi, Dermot Mulroney and the woman who plays J. Jason Leigh's sister are all quite good in supporting roles, and Michael Murphy is perfect for the part of the slightly confused, yet somewhat powerful husband to the kidnapped Richardson character.
The clothes, cars, and look of the film is nicely done (cmon it IS an Altman picture!!!) and really does make you feel as if you are in Missouri circa 1935-1940. Add to that a slightly twisted ending and you have a really good and def. underrated film that I really want to see again... on DVD this time to REALLY crank up the music scenes. I give Kansas City 7.5/10
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