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This 1975 film sits near the top of any list of the best films of the 1970s, perhaps in the top five and, in some people's minds, at the pinnacle itself. Robert Altman, at his most Altmanesque, spins together plot strands involving two dozen people over the course of one particularly busy weekend in Music City, USA. Though several of the story lines deal with country-western stars--played by Henry Gibson, Ronee Blakley and Karen Black--the plot also deals with the country scene's wannabes, the business people who pull the strings and the operative for a mysterious presidential candidate who is trying to get the de facto endorsement of some of the country stars by having them appear at a rally for him. (The unknown but rocketing presidential aspirant was eerily echoed the next year, when Jimmy Carter came out of nowhere to win the presidency.) Blakley is heartbreakingly fragile as a Loretta Lynn-like singer on the verge of total mental meltdown, while Lily Tomlin is outstanding as a housewife-gospel singer who has a dalliance with a randy folk-rock cad, perfectly played by Keith Carradine (who won an Oscar for his song "I'm Easy"). The cast also includes Jeff Goldblum, Scott Glenn, Keenan Wynn, Shelley Duvall, Geraldine Chaplin (hilarious as a fatuous British TV journalist), Barbara Harris, Michael Murphy, and Ned Beatty, with cameos by Elliott Gould and Julie Christie as themselves. Next to Mean Streets, perhaps the most influential film of the decade. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Luckily, I stayed with it, and Nashville, as a pure movie, is a masterful work. The dense layers of dialogue, the wide-screen panoramas, the set pieces (the car pileup "happening" being especially effective and awesome), the tossed-off one-liner/payoff ironies which are more a documenting of what everyone in the audience is already thinking than a redundancy - all of it, top-shelf and brilliant.
Also found it intriguing that Ronee Blakely, when singing, is the only character in the entire film I can recall that gets a true close-up - I guess Altman was trying to make her semi-deified, cult of personality status stand out even more.
Altman hits a bull's-eye everywhere else - how could he miss with regard to the actual singing? (The songs, themselves are pretty good for what they are.) I guess if you're going to have the actors write their own lyrics (which he did) then you're kind of commited to go all the way with it. But it doesn't make most of those performances any easier to hear...
Some people, obviously, hate Nashville. I respect them for being true to their experience of the movie, but some of their comments are baffling. Altman hates his characters? He is superior and detached? The costumes are dated? I have to wonder if we were watching the same DVD. Admiration for Nashville is not some Pauline Kael conspiracy. This is a great movie, justly and deeply loved.
And the plot does come together to some extent as we build to the final song, one of the most moving endings in film history in my opinion. The lyrics, sung by an unknown, interspersed with scenes of America's young in a melting pot American city, suggest a stoicism, perseverance (as one idol falls, another rises to replace her) and vitality. Even after Vietnam, Watergate, assassinations, and deep recession, crossroads America itself maintains hope and optimism. 'Nashville' suggests we are not such a young and homogenous country after all.
Among the individual islands the film explores, standouts are Ronee Blakey as the beautiful and intense but fragile diva, Hnry Gibson as the king of country, with political aspirations, and Lily Tomlin as a loving mother and gospel singer facing a marital crisis. The incredible fact that much of the music was written and performed, with little rehearsal, by many of the actors (Keith Carradine and Karen Black's musical performances are also noteworthy) lends a kind of democratic (for lack of a better word) authenticity to the film as well.
-the sound is kind of weird, the music sequences have high high volume and the dialogue is often too quiet at times that you have to turn up the volume on your set and then get a nasty jolt when the film cuts away to a music sequence. and if you know how many times this movie goes back and forth between music sequences you can perhaps understand my frustration. i understand that during robert altman's career and given his attention to dialogue and sound mixing a great deal of technical innovation occurred as a result of altman's efforts and contributions. i think it would have been to his benefit (and his work's benefit) if he revisited this production and did something about the sound mixing.
-the film transfer doesn't seem to be all that grand. certain scenes appear a little too washed out and bright and the colours seems distorted. this as well would have benefitted greatly from developments in film production technology these days.
-the extras are so-so. it seems as tho there would be mountains of praise for this film (actually i'm sure there is), interviews (20+ characters? come on!), commentaries, additional scenes left out (altman actually refers to these on the disc) and it would be interesting to see some outtakes considering the scale and grandeur of altman's style especially with regards to this particular film. and (again i'm being biased here) i would have loved to see some outtakes/bloopers with geraldine chaplin's character cos altman says in the commentary that a lot of her monologues (in the scrap yard, in the bus yard, elsewhere) were improvised.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This hard to find film arrived before the estimated ship date and looked exactly as the seller described it. The disc is pristine and plays perfectly.Published on Nov. 7 2011 by Des Neiges
Brilliant, funny, sad and epic look at 1970s U.S., following 24
characters over a few key days in Nashville. Read more
How can anyone get away with mixing meandering naturalism with phony characters? I suppose this is what Hollywood needs to prove to itself that it can create art--a reflexive... Read morePublished on Nov. 21 2006 by Trinity Lourdes
I am waiting for a better DVD version with more extras and 1:85 ratio 2:35 is too small for me. I do own the video and I have no idea how many times I have watched this movie. Read morePublished on May 29 2004 by Darrell of Georgia
Does this movie portray the real Nashville? I don't know; I don't work in the music industry. However, something tells me that this movie really does portray the real Nashville. Read morePublished on May 25 2004 by Stuart Heasman
An astonishing film, rich in satire and brilliantly executed. Altman manages to weave so many subplots and characters seamlessly. One of his crowning achievements. Read morePublished on April 30 2004 by Matt
In the aftermath of the Vietnam war and the Watergate Scandal American people had a large amount of cynicism for the United States government. Read morePublished on Dec 28 2003 by Swederunner
Nashville is one of Altman's best works.I like it very much.
It's soundtrack contains some of the greatest country songs ever
made. Read more