Five days in the Nashville country and gospel music scene, filled with stars, wannabe stars, and other hangers-on - individual stories of this small group intertwined - provides a commentary on American society. The stars include: good ol' boy Haven Hamilton, whose patriotic songs leading up to the American bicentennial belie his controlling and ruthless nature; Barbara Jean, the country music darling who is just returning to Nashville and performing following recovery from a fire-related injury which may have taken more of an emotional toll than a physical one; and good looking and charismatic Tom Frank, one-third of the successful group Bill, Mary, and Tom, he who is trying to go solo, which masks his need to not be solo in his personal life as he emotionally abuses woman after woman in love with him, including Mary who is married to Bill. The wannabe stars include: Albuquerque, whose real name is Winifred, who is trying to run away from her husband Star in he not approving of her ...Written by
The opening credits are modeled after a 1970s era TV commercial for a "greatest hits" record album compilation, with the actors in the film announced by a DJ as if they were artists whose songs were featured on the album. See more »
After having seen this film for the third time - the first was in film school many years ago - I'm struck by the amount of action going on within many of the shots. Mention is frequently made of Altman's use of overlapping dialogue in the sound but what struck me this time around is how often two or more characters, acting out different lines of the story are captured within the same shot - giving this film much of its sense of verisimilitude, a fantastic control of pace while feeling natural. Unarguably, much of its naturalism comes from the lens and cinematographic choices but part of it also stems from the choices made available in the cutting room, which give it an excellent pace and rhythm.
Add to that some wonderful performances, especially by Henry Gibson and Ronee Blakely, and you have a quintessential American Independent film that speaks about America in terms that no marketing agency of the current generation would ever tolerate.
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