A final live variety show broadcast via radio becomes a metaphor for the natural order of life. A concept and script by Garrison Keilor uses every natural and technical element of working with a tight and close ensemble producing a weekly show to sooth us and guide us through the natural but difficult transitions of aging, becoming less relevant and then dying as new, young life develops and strengthens during our final "performances." This is a rare film for it's remarkable cast and crew and one wonders how the great Robert Altman was able to gather them all at the same place and time to shoot this film. Written by
The name for the character, Chuck Akers, comes from the name Garrison Keillor's friend Chet Atkins uses when he checks into hotel rooms See more »
Garrison Keillor is wearing a wedding ring part of the time, then not wearing one other times. See more »
Market reports today, barrows and gilts uh two hundred twenty to two hundred sixty pounds, they're lower at forty dollars uh sows are steady three hundred five hundred pounds thirty four to thirty seven dollars going over to feeder cattle, beef steers - one hundred twenty to one hundred fifty dollars and two hundred to three hundred
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There is a credit for Sign Painter in the film, although it does not appear on the official site. See more »
"It's not true that I had nothing on. I had the radio on." Marilyn Monroe about posing nude on her famous calendar.
If there is anyone more laid back or brighter than Garrison Keillor in show business, let me know, because Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion, based on Keillor's long-running Minnesota Public Radio saga, shows Keillor as an audience sees him each weeklike a god gently guiding an eccentric ensemble through excellent performances made to look as easy as his demeanor. This film stands near Altman's Nashville as a testimony to the director's gift for sustaining strong characters in layers of dialogue approximating overlapping conversations at an interesting party.
Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin as the singing country Johnson sisters bring back memories of Reese Witherspoon's amazing turn as June Carter and Streep's own previous country singer in Postcards. Ditto Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly as the singing and joking Dusty and Lefty. But best of all is Kevin Kline as Keillor's real radio creation, Guy Noir, the '40's dapper, inquisitive, naughty narrator and security head for the production. Klein embodies the melancholic mood always at least hidden underneath any show's last show, despite Keillor's nonchalant assertion that every show is your "last show." Around this realistic, charming premise of talented performers at their last performance, writer Keillor interjects a ghostly beauty in a white leather trench coat, Virginia Madsen playing Dangerous Woman, the spirit of death, gently accompanying those about to die and the moribund show itself. The character is a lyrical embodiment of the theme that nothing lasts but the love shared in any experience. Keillor remains in character after someone dies by stating he doesn't "do eulogies." Nor does he do one for the show, which in real life still lasts in St. Paul from 1974.
So enjoyable are Altman, his ubiquitous HD camera, and his busy dialogue that you feel a part of the proceedings, catching the sweet smell of success for everyone attached to this thoroughly realized song of love to theater, music, and creativity.
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