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Kansas City (1996)

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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 ... See full summary »

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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Henry Stilton
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Johnny O'Hara
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Johnny Flynn
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Babe Flynn
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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
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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 »
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Kansas City" is partially based on a true incident. In 1933, Mary McElroy, the opium-addicted daughter of Henry McElroy, Kansas City's City Manager, was kidnapped from her home by a group of amateur kidnappers. After a $30,000 ransom was paid, Mary McElroy was released unharmed. Her four kidnappers were later caught and sentenced to life in prison. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Carolyn Stilton: He's got a lot of customers.
Blondie O'Hara: Those aren't customers, those are voters. They ship 'em from all over the state. Each of 'em vote ten, twelve times. Used to get their names outta the cemetary, but I don't even think they bother anymore.
Johnny Flynn: [to crowd of men] You'll be exercising your God-given right to vote. However, you'll be voting the way I tell you to vote, and as many times as I tell you. That understood? Understood? Shut up!
Carolyn Stilton: Democrats do that?
Blondie O'Hara: Democrats? They're what they're paid to be. This is ...
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
improvise
23 February 2006 | by (Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico) – See all my reviews

Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a desperate woman who tries to rescue her boyfriend (Dermot Mulrooney) from the hands of local black mobsters led by Harry Belafonte, who have made him a prisoner after he robbed one of them. She kidnaps the laudnum addicted wife (Miranda Richardson) of a Roosevelt political adviser (Michael Murphy) in an effort to somehow get enough leverage to achieve her goal. The Kansas City of the Depression setting looks pretty real and wide open, not only for crime but also political fraud. Robert Altman made a great character for Steve Buscemi as a brutal political operative who's assigned to get out the vote by any and all means possible, including the use of baseball bats, but he failed to give him enough space. Nonetheless, he's just another part of this mosaic of the period, and does well enough with the meager scenes he has. Jennifer Jason Leigh is at the film's center while social, political, and economic forces swirl around her. She affects a Jean Harlow persona throughout the film, and in one scene is actually in a theater watching a Jean Harlow film. The tough girl act conceals her real life existence as yet another victim of the Great Depression of the 1930's. By the end of the film she appears on screen with her hair dyed platinum blond and in an all white evening gown, actually becoming the famous actress who died so young. While the film meanders around, going into and out of crooked politics, race, teen pregnancy, drugs, etc...and in and out of the Hey-Hey Club with the ongoing birth of blues and bebop, the ending that punctuates the kernel of a plot is quite an exclamation point and is well worth the wait.


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