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 »
A down on his luck gambler links up with free spirit Elliot Gould at first to have some fun on, but then gets into debt when Gould takes an unscheduled trip to Tijuana. As a final act of ... See full summary »
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 »
Robert Downey Jr.
Dr. Sullivan Travis "Dr. T." is a wealthy Dallas gynecologist for some of the wealthiest women in Texas who finds his idealist life beginning to fall apart starting when his wife, Kate, ... See full summary »
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>
When Governor Guy Park is telephoned about the kidnapping, he suggests notifying the state police. Missouri has no state police (only Highway Patrol). See more »
You have to understand Sheepshan. He's a loser. And losers've got to be respected. They're the backbone of my business. They're my customers, and I take good care of my customers.
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Belafonte Fine, Music Even Better--But Central Miscasting Dooms It!
Like the films of Orson Welles, Federico Fellini or Woody Allen, there's almost always a reason to watch, even if the completed whole doesn't quite add up to the sum of it's parts. Kansas City fits that bill for me.
Altman weaves his usual rich tapestry of lives affected by history in a city alive with jazz and political chicanery, and Kansas City is worth watching for the unexpectedly mesmerizing performance by Harry Belafonte as "Seldom Seen," mobster boss.
The jazz on display is equally dazzling, but just when your mind is settling into some rich, heady music, the film cuts back to the deadly, mannered, whiny performance turned in by Jennifer Jason Leigh; when most film fans recall the disaster that became Godfather III, the director's indulgence of the lackluster performance turned in by Sofia Coppola comes to mind; Leigh's performance similarly affects the tone of Kansas City, and since she is the protagonist, the film's interest flags with her director-free indulgence in some kind of method acting that fails to evoke much but self-indulgence.
In short, Kansas City is well worth a look for superb mise-en-scene,for the music and atmosphere, but is deeply frustrating for it's central performance.
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