"A Prairie Home Companion", hosted by humorist Garrison Keillor, is a down home radio variety show recorded and performed live in front of an audience in a theater in St. Paul, Minnesota. A show from another era, "A Prairie Home Companion" has been canceled. The regulars are performing on the last show, including Dusty & Lefty, singing/guitar playing cowboys with a risqué sense of humor, and the Johnson Girls, a sister singing duo of Rhonda and Yolanda who have a penchant for talking over each other. As the show goes on, the regulars, backstage, talk about their lives in relation to the show. Other goings-on include Yolanda and others trying to convince her shy somber daughter, Lola, to sing on this last show. As all this goes on, a mysterious woman in a white trench coat who is on a mission wanders around the theater, while the show's dim security guard, Guy Noir, who usually has nothing to do security-wise, follows. Written by
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Funny, feel-good movie that will be a hit with radio-show fans.
The movie opens with a view of rural Minnesota, accompanied by 1950's radio...music, farm report, commodity prices, etc. It quickly moves to Mickey's Diner, an establishment located just a few blocks from the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. There we see Guy Noir, whose job is managing security for the "A Prairie Home Companion" radio program. Soon we are in the theater, preparing for the live performance of the radio program. Virtually all the remainder of the movie happens in the Fitzgerald.
Note: I have attended two APHC performances in the Fitzgerald, and have eaten in Mickey's Diner. The exteriors in the movie are all real, and the stage, the sets and auditorium shots of the Fitzgerald are likewise genuine. Even a brief shot of a church near the theater, toward the end of the movie, is genuine. You can see some photos at PHCFan.com. The stage action in the movie is just like it happens in real life. Whether the dressing-room scenes and GK's disregard for deadlines are similar to real-life, I don't know.
During much of the movie we are puzzled by a mysterious woman in white who has certainly caught Guy Noir's eye...her garments are so tight he can "read the embroidery on her panties." She walks calmly around the stage and through the set during the show itself. We learn her identity in the second half of the movie.
The real-life Sue Scott plays a hairdresser in the movie, a speaking role. Even if you don't recognize her face you will recognize her voice. All the other regulars seem to play themselves.
The movie audience really enjoyed the movie. We laughed heartily at the jokes, and applauded at the end. It is a feel-good movie, a must-see for fans of the weekly radio program.
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