American Masters: Season 18, Episode 7

Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues (23 Jun. 2004)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | Biography | History
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The authoritative documentary on Country Music's most influential figure.


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Title: Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues (23 Jun 2004)

Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues (23 Jun 2004) on IMDb 5.3/10

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Episode credited cast:
Roy Acuff ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Tommy Bishop ...
Rick Bragg ...
Joe Buck ...
Charles Carr ...
Anita Carter ...
Herself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Little Jimmy Dickens ...
Danny Dill ...
Himself (archive footage)
Colin Escott ...
Lewis Fitzgerald ...
Kira Florita ...
Tillman B. Franks ...


The authoritative documentary on Country Music's most influential figure.

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Standard documentary fare concerning extraordinary singer
22 October 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The positives about this piece are that the film makers have produced a document of interviews with surviving relatives and band members of an important artist, dead now for over 50 years.

For anyone with an interest in Hank Williams there are plenty of interesting insights and a picture of a complex and unknowable figure emerges.

On the downside much of the contemporary footage is sufficiently low resolution, certainly on the projection at the London Film Festival, that it doesn't stand up to the blow up from TV to cinema and looks blocky and blurred.

The film makers struggle manfully with a difficult subject with only partial success. The director indicated at the screening that the subject had perhaps not already been tackled due to the dearth of footage of Williams and this is possibly the greatest problem.

The film is structured around William's career through tracing his movements around a map and this serves to accentuate the impression of the movie as charting the steps towards his eventual demise, age 29, in the back of a car on his way to a concert.

In conclusion the film is strangely sterile - the lasting impression is of a vital and fascinating figure lost to us, remembered only in shreds of memory and scraps of film and paper. These bits and pieces do not remain in sufficient quantity for an engaging piece of film to be woven from them in the manner that this documentary attempts.

This noted the film is competently made and for anyone interested in Williams it is worth a look.

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