Nashville

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Overview

Before Paul Thomas Anderson's ensemble cast epics Boogie Nights and Magnolia, there was Robert Altman's Nashville. Generally regarded as one of the seminal movies of the 1970s, the film further established Altman (M*A*S*H, The Player, Gosford Park) as an auteur to be reckoned with, honing his improvisatory and pseudo-documentary style, his maverick use of overlapping dialogue, and his overall disregard for standard cinematic conventions like, say, plot and structure. Ambitious and sprawling, Nashville revolves ...
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Overview

Before Paul Thomas Anderson's ensemble cast epics Boogie Nights and Magnolia, there was Robert Altman's Nashville. Generally regarded as one of the seminal movies of the 1970s, the film further established Altman (M*A*S*H, The Player, Gosford Park) as an auteur to be reckoned with, honing his improvisatory and pseudo-documentary style, his maverick use of overlapping dialogue, and his overall disregard for standard cinematic conventions like, say, plot and structure. Ambitious and sprawling, Nashville revolves around the country music world during the course of several days (besides the intersecting lives of various singers and songwriters and Nashville denizens, there's also a political campaign for a Ross Perot-like third-party candidate). The Paramount Home Video DVD, with its remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track mix, nicely captures the musical sequences, which take up more than an hour of the 160-minute film. (The movie is, after all, a musical, as Altman says in the commentary.) Still, as in McCabe and Mrs. Miller, another much-anticipated DVD release from Altman's remarkable '70s oeuvre, it remains difficult to make out some of the dialogue. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer impresses the eye, and is especially strong considering the age of the film and the use of natural light; it far surpasses previous versions of the film available for home viewing. However, expect some occasional graininess and lack of detail, most notably in some of the darker scenes, such as when Keith Carradine performs his Oscar-winning song "I'm Easy" in a club. The features are threefold: a commentary by Altman, an interview with the director, and the theatrical trailer. Although the commentary is a must for Altman aficionados, you can get a condensed version of the remarks in the 12-minute interview because Altman basically repeats everything he says in the interview in the commentary as well, sometimes verbatim. Moreover, he disappears for long stretches during the commentary, particularly toward the end of the film. Yet there are some worthwhile tidbits and anecdotes along the way -- how the actors wrote and performed their own songs, how scenes were loosely shot as "events" ("We didn't do anything conventionally," Altman explains, "This was shot like a documentary"). Perhaps most interesting, Altman relates how a Washington Post reporter called him after John Lennon's assassination and asked if he felt responsible for the slain Beatle's death, since Nashville ends with the shooting of a celebrity. Not surprisingly, Altman denied any culpability and turned the tables on the reporter, asking if he felt responsible: "You might blame yourself for not listening to my warning," Altman told him.
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Special Features

Exclusive interview with director Robert Altman; Commentary by Robert Altman; Theatrical trailer; Widescreen version enhanced for 16x9; Dolby Digital: English 5.1 Surround; English subtitles; Interactive menus; Scene selection
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Rachel Saltz
Robert Altman's bicentennial epic Nashville -- a tragicomic meditation on entertainment, politics, and the American Dream -- is one of the best movies of the 1970s and a landmark of American cinema. Like a country-music La Ronde, Nashville is an ensemble work, its 24 principal characters interlocking in an elaborate web. Among the many memorable creations are Henry Gibson's comically self-serving Haven Hamilton, Lily Tomlin's heart-tugging gospel singer and, especially, Ronee Blakely's Barbara Jean, a Loretta Lynn-ish star whose pure-mountain voice and fragile psyche give the film a tragic authenticity. Many of the performances were improvised, with actors sometimes writing their own dialogue or songs, and scenes often feel exuberantly loose. Still, Altman exercises a masterful control of the story, which builds to a knowing, frightening finale. Perhaps the greatest of Altman's '70s films which included McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Thieves Like Us, The Long Goodbye, Nashville remains an enduring masterpiece of Watergate-era disillusionment.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Following 24 characters in the country music capital, Robert Altman's 1975 epic presents a complex, critical portrait of the twin national obsessions with celebrity and power. Culminating Altman's experiments in loose, multi-character narrative structure; mobile wide-screen composition; and layered sound design, the film seamlessly interweaves many stories and moods, even within a single shot, creating a mosaic of "America" on the cusp of the Bicentennial. The improvisational acting enhances the casual feel of events, as does the dense mix of songs, dialogue, and background noise (like the campaign loudspeakers spewing populist bromides). Amid this random ambiance, characters consistently act out of base self-interest, intimating that these are the skewed values of contemporary America. Combining his somber social commentary with a lightly musical and comic atmosphere, punctuated by 27 songs by various cast members, Altman reveals how the worship of entertainment precludes personal relationships and political awareness, even as the film itself seeks to amuse. Critics, especially Pauline Kael, greeted the film as an incisive masterwork, predicting that Nashville would be a blockbuster like Altman's MASH (1970). While not a flop, it did not live up to those financial expectations, as audiences increasingly turned to such lighter diversions as the 1975 blockbuster Jaws. Nashville received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress for Lily Tomlin's adulterous gospel singer and Ronee Blakely's fragile star, but Joan Tewkesbury's screenplay was ignored; Keith Carradine's seductively folksy "I'm Easy" won the Best Song statuette. With its technical invention, narrative intricacy, provocative insights, and command of entertainment, Nashville still stands as one of Hollywood's most remarkable achievements; Paul Thomas Anderson's multi-character tapestries, Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1999), reveal just a small measure of its influence.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/15/2000
  • UPC: 097360882148
  • Original Release: 1975
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:40:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Master Henry Gibson Haven Hamilton
Barbara Baxley Lady Pearl
Ned Beatty Delbert Reese
Karen Black Connie White
Ronee Blakely Barbara Jean
Lily Tomlin Linnea Reese
Keith Carradine Tom Frank
Geraldine Chaplin Opal
Robert DoQui Wade
Shelley Duvall L.A. Joan
Allen Garfield Barnett
David Arkin Norman Chauffeur
Scott Glenn Pfc. Glenn Kelly
Jeff Goldblum Tricycle Man
Barbara Harris Albuquerque
David Hayward Kenny Fraiser
Michael Murphy Triplette
Cristina Raines Mary
Bert Remsen Star
Timothy Brown Tommy Brown
Gwen Welles Sueleen Gay
Keenan Wynn Mr. Green
Richard Baskin Piano Player
James Dan Calvert Jimmy Reese
Donna Denton Donna Reese
Merle Kilgore Bar Owner
Carol McGinnis Jewel
Sheila Bailey Smokey Mountain Laurel
Patti Bryant Smokey Mountein Laurel
Jonnie Barnett Himself
Vassar Clements Himself
Sue Barton Herself
Misty Mountain Boys Misty Mountain Boys
Susan Anspach
Lauren Hutton
Dave Peel Bud Hamilton
Allan Nicholls Bill
Elliott Gould Himself
Julie Christie Herself
Howard K. Smith Himself
Technical Credits
Robert Altman Director, Producer
Richard Baskin Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Scott Bushnell Associate Producer, Costumes/Costume Designer
Keith Carradine Score Composer
Bob Eggenweiler Associate Producer
Dennis M. Hill Editor
Sid Levin Editor
Paul Lohmann Cinematographer
Chris McLaughlin Sound/Sound Designer
Richard Portman Sound/Sound Designer
Martin Starger Producer
Joan Tewkesbury Screenwriter
Tommy Thompson Makeup
Jim Webb Sound/Sound Designer
Jerry Weintraub Producer
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Scene Index

Menu Group #1 with 17 chapter(s) covering 02:40:11
1. Twenty Four Stars [:07]
2. Airport Arrivals [:22]
3. Traffic Jam [:58]
4. Club Scenes [7:48]
5. Saturday Morning [:40]
6. The Hamilton Party [9:38]
7. Grand Ole Opry [8:11]
8. Connie White [4:14]
9. King Of The Road [4:10]
10. Sunday Services [6:30]
11. Promotional Considerations [1:15]
12. Opry Belle [5:56]
13. Tom, Bill And Mary [8:17]
14. "I'm Easy." [:09]
15. Fund Raiser [10:50]
16. Parthenon [6:29]
17. "It Don't Worry Me" [8:28]
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Menu

Side #1
Theatrical Trailer.
Interview with Director Robert Altman.
Commentary.
Menu Group #1 with 17 chapter(s) covering 02:40:11
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Probably Altman's best

    In NASHVILLE, Robert Altman brought many of the strategies he had used on M*A*S*H and earlier films to their fruition. He uses the sound brilliantly, the overlapping conversations. He maintains about a dozen plot threads, bringing most of them together in the climax at the Partnenon, a huge, slightly ridiculous structure located in the center of Nashville's largest city park. He doesn't try to explain everything, leaving us with pieces to put together, but he provides sufficient information.

    My regret is that he didn't use the flexibility of the d.v.d. medium to give us the six- or eight-hour version that he first wanted to release. Perhaps an Altman scholar will get the rights to all the film & piece the longer versions together.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Nashville

    I bought this DVD just for myself. I don't think this is a great movie but for some reason I just like it

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Overated, but interesting...

    Altman's finest this one ain't. The dialogue is sharp and overlapping, the characters are unique and well acted, and the cinematography is beautiful. These are all hallmarks of a great Robert Altman film, but the pacing is terrible! It's a long, slow jog to an underwhelming climax. Not to mention, as a Nashville resident, this film could've taken place in any city. It was as if he threw a dart at a map of the U.S., and when it landed on Nashville, he decided to put in a country music undertone for flavor. M*A*S*H and McCabe and Mrs. Miller far a superior films, not to mention some of his later day efforts. I've seen this movie 3 times and have tried and tried to appreciate it as a seminal work in his career, but I just can't. That being said, it was key to inspiring the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson and David Fincher, so it can't be all that bad, just uneventful...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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