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50 films: 1975 - Nashville

Barbara Harris

Nashville is a great film, wonderfully acted, with a stack of stories and virtually no plot... it's also nearly three hours long which makes it one of those films that I bypassed for many years, committing to a long film is not something that's easy (for me) to do. It was always on my list, Altman had already proved to me that he was a director who shouldn't be ignored, having already watched a number of his (long!) films.

In 1997 Dean Wareham released an album of cover versions with his (then) wife Claudia Silver under the name "Cagney and Lacee". Two of the covers on the album, Six Feet of Chain, were tracks taken from Nashville so suddenly it became a film I should no longer ignore, although it was a good few years before the opportunity arose.

The thing about Nashville is that while it may be 159 minutes long, probably an hour of it is made up of the musical performances, and the rest is wonderful rambling, mostly funny, and often touching, scary and heartbreaking. So it's not three hours wasted. I've watched the film three times now and would watch it again at the drop of a hat - assuming I have three hours to kill.

The music was mostly written by the actors and is often rather wonderful. Apparently the country music community were unhappy about this and frankly I don't blame them because it suggests:

1/ Country music can be convincingly written by actors
2/ Because they're written by "outsiders" they can be seen as being slightly mocking

Here are my posts for A Head Full of Wishes about the songs:

Originals: For The Sake of The Children by Henry Gibson (covered by Cagney and Lacee)
Originals: Memphis by Karen Black (covered by Cagney and Lacee)

50 films and 50 albums

Everything's swirling / last build: 2024-04-03 11:39