Nashville (1975) 720p

Movie Poster
Nashville (1975) bluray - Movie Poster
Comedy | Drama
Frame Rate:
23.976 fps
English 2.0  
Run Time:
160 min
IMDB Rating:
7.7 / 10 
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Directors: Robert Altman [Director] ,

Movie Description:
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 ...


  • Nashville (1975) bluray - Movie Scene 1
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  • Nashville (1975) bluray - Movie Scene 1

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Better Than Expected!

Director Robert Altman impressed me with this two earlier directorial efforts M.A.S.H and McCabe and Mrs. Miller, but I believe he really comes into his own with 1975's Nashville. The way he directed his movie and the way he made it a very intelligent movie with many important themes but can be understood by the general public is just outstanding. However, if you don't keep up with the movie, you can be sure to get lost in the overload of information Altman throws at you. On paper, the film may seem like a mess but it's really not. The film really does not have an overall plot, but it has interwoven segments that are related with each other and I'll discuss a little bit later on. This film is full of unique performances from an unusually large cast. It's not unusual that there are many characters, but how many major characters there are. There are approximately 25 major speaking roles, and that has to be some sort of record. But all the performances are wonderful and unique and you feel for each character in the country music setting of Nashville.

So what exactly is this film about? Well, that's really hard to pinpoint as there is no one big linear plot line. It is essentially about a group of people living life in Nashville during a political-happy time (kind of reminds me of the current 2016 political race). But let's break down the plot into the little segments. We have Barbara Jean (Ronee Blackley) who is the current reigning country queen of Nashville, but health problems is causing her to fall apart and she also later becomes a symbol for political assassination. Then we have Delbert (Ned Beatty) and Linnea Reese (Lily Tomlin) who live a rather sad life because of a failing marriage and trying to take care of two deaf children. Delbert is involved in a politics as he is trying to bring politics and country music together. Then we have a British journalist named Opal (Geraldine Chaplin) who decides to get into the thick of events within the Nashville scene. As the famed movie critic Roger Ebert paraphrases what this movie is about, it's many things. A musical, a docudrama about life in Nashville, a political story that was influenced by events like the Watergate scandal, and it is also a satire about country music.

With such a large ensemble, I was surprised how much Altman was able to get from all of his characters. They were superbly written and the performances were genuine. Many of the characters do their own singing, and you can tell they are not professional singers. While the voices may not be the best ones ever, I loved the raw, edgy sound with added to the realism of the performances. The film is not composed of big stars (at the time or even by today's standards), but they often hit the spot. I loved Ronee Blackley's performance as the country queen, Barbara Jean. Her singing is decent, but she brings a sensitive side to her character and she is involved in a big political showdown at the end of the movie. She reminds me of a similar real-life country singer, Loretta Lynn. Lily Tomlin delivered one heck of a impressive performance as the mother of two deaf children. I relate to her character because I suffer from partial deafness myself and I understand her pains. She brings such vulnerability to her character. Ned Beatty does a good job in playing the asshole husband who doesn't care about his family but only about his job. We have very early performances from future stars from the likes of Jeff Goldblum, Scott Glenn, and Keith Carradine (who was impressive as a rock singer). Henry Gibson does a solid job as another famous country star named Haven Hamilton (and did have a good voice).

So there were many aspects to the plot I thoroughly enjoyed. I enjoyed the rather brutal satire on country music which gathered criticism from people within this industry. But my favorite was the political aspect of the movie. Maybe its because history and politics go hand in hand or maybe we are living in a political-happy environment at current time, but I feel like the politics aspect hold up strongly. I like the random scenes where we have this political party in support of a candidate named Hal Philip Walker whom we never meet, but his presence is always known. His politics and the country stars end up clashing in the end for a very powerful ending.

Overall, I really enjoyed Nashville. I don't think it's good of a masterpiece of Altman's earlier McCabe and Mrs. Miller but this is his more mainstream effort. But use that word "mainstream" lightly because Altman brings his complicated style of directing to this movie. His use of the actors and his political and social commentary is widely shown throughout the film. As I say for most of Altman's films, they are not for everyone. This film has excellent performances from everyone with my favorite performance coming from Lily Tomlin. There is an hour of music recorded for the film and despite the inexperience of the singers, the music mostly works with the film. Nominated for 5 Oscars and a 9 Golden Globes (a record that still holds today), Nashville is a solid work of filmmaking.

My Grade: A-

When Baby-Boomers were Millennials...

My rendezvous with "Nashville" goes back to seven years ago, I could get any movie I wanted but "Nashville" resisted. I needed to see the fifth Best Picture nominee of 1975, this very movie Roger Ebert and Pauline Kael raved about, that topped both Ebert and Siskel's annual top ten, this American Film Institute's Top 100 entry that was a total mystery to me.

It took seven years but better late than never? At first, I didn't get what was so brilliant about it but so many story lines and only one viewing? I saw it again. And then, I went like "oh, what the heck", a third time won't hurt. Three times in less than four days, could have been four or five times, as many as the stars in the American flag, that's how good it is. This is one flew over a cuckoo's nest you don't recover from, and the more ordinary people and situations are, the more extraordinary the journey is. Altman should be damned? if he wasn't such a genius.

The film spans a period of five days during a country-music festival, coinciding with some populist politician's party rally, this is enough to have a panoramic view across the lives of dozens of characters who, through their considerable differences, reach ever possible dimension of the American spirit of 1975, and in such a way that I guess even a non-American can enjoy it. Well, there's me at least.

So, what is "Nashville"? Simply, the Mecca of country music, the reason why everybody came in the first place and were reunited by the end.There are dozens of them but there's no small part in the sense that they're all equally small in the scale of the significance of music, the common thread, the real star. Some sing, some wish they could, some manage or look for singers, some screw or get screwed by them? or just pop up and aimlessly wander, like in real life, no one crosses your path who should necessarily has a significance.

I wonder to which extent these fascinating hazards were part of Joan Tewkesbury's script or improvised by the actors? the same way they wrote their own songs.

And not any songs, country songs? this is crucial because country music isn't just deeply rooted in American tradition, it is also the most cinematic of all forms of music: it tells stories.

I can perhaps tell you the name of four or five country singers but I know a great deal about the way country music affects me, because any song I hear finds a powerful echo in my own memories. It is like this scene from "The Simpsons" where Homer leaves the house after an argument and hears Lurleen Lumpkin singing "Your wife doesn't understand you but I do". You listen to country music because you feel like 'it' has listened to you in the first place.

Just compare the upbeat patriotic starting song from Haven Hamilton (Henry Gibson) "we must have done something right to last 200 years" with the neutral political slogans the loudspeaker keep on hammering all day, which one will reach the hearts first? Compare the obnoxiousness of the character played by Keith Carradine who seemed to have gotten half the female cast on his bed with the melancholic tune of his "I'm Easy" you can't even tell whether he has pride or contempt toward himself, but the gaze of Lilly Tomlin while listening to him says everything.

Music is like the only way to arouse genuine emotions, in another powerful scene, a wannabe singer (Glew Welels) of mediocre talent gets booed, she can only indulge to a striptease to provoke the cheers. In another scene, a father doesn't even have the patience to listen to his deaf son's story as if silence was the antithesis of communication, and music its apotheosis.

Many people communicate, others don't? some meet, others don't? I remember a girl in high school, we never talked together, never went in the same class, but for some reason, we always met in some place or another. When it became obviously repetitive, we smiled at each other; like a private joke. Just like in "Nashville", the more we meet these people, the more we care for them, as we care for ourselves.

Only the New Hollywood period could have made this gem possible, a time where America was still mourning an innocence and where the baby-boomers like today's millennials (count me among them) were cherishing their childhood, a time without the Vietnam War, incarnated by a Wizard-of-Oz-like childhood, Kennedy's dashing smile, the very American Pie Don McLean said bye-bye to.

And this end-of-an-era is magnificently captured by the performance of Roney Blakely (Oscar-nominated along with Tolmin) as a fragile and emotionally vulnerable country singer named Barbara Jean. She's a sweet and delicate flower with a ticking bomb of a heart, she faints at her arrival, in her first representation, she interrupts her songs to mumble about her childhood until her husband (Allen Garfield) takes her away, simply overwhelmed, and easily upset like a part of America is.

But there's room for every possible identification: capitalists, disillusioned soldiers, drifters, lunatic, has-beens, romantics and losers, this is a microcosm of America, all in characters and emotions, for the sake of laughs, anger, tears, frustration, the spirit of a country in a nutshell and its heart is Barbara Jean, whose "Idaho Home" song awakened again that symptomatic feeling of millennials: being nostalgic over eras we didn't live.

And if I could keep one image from these 240 minutes, I'd keep the sight of the American flag gently rippling under the wind while Barbara Jean sings "we were young then, we were together. We could bear floods and fire and bad weather", hell, how can I seriously write a thousand-word review when this image alone speaks for a thousand words.

This isn't's an insane asylum!

"Nashville" is supposed to be Robert Altman's best movie. But I have to say, I just didn't get it! The movie is like some kind of surreal satire on the city of Nashville, and the state of America in the 1970's. It's Nashville...but it's like an alternate universe Nashville where the people talk endlessly, on and on, about nothing! It's like "Seinfeld" without the jokes or character development.

This Nashville is filled with people who are completely clueless about how superficial their lives are, who seem to have no idea how stupid they are. A key scene early on involves a multi-car pile-up on the interstate. But instead of running around from car to car asking "Is everyone all right? Is anyone hurt?", the people in the pile-up (who are all, by strange coincidence, characters in the movie) seem more annoyed that this accident will make them late for dinner, or to whatever they have to go to. They talk with each other, exchange phone numbers, buy and sell goods, eat popsicles bought from an ice cream. Nobody seems phased that they've just been through a massive near-death experience. These are not "people," they are "characters in a social commentary."

Altman's take on the country music industry is very strange. In this version of Nashville, there are a lot of country music singers who can't sing! I don't just mean the "wannabe singers" like Suleen Gay (Gwen Welles) who is too stupid to realize she doesn't have any talent. I mean established country stars like Tommy Brown (Timmy Brown), Haven Hamilton (Henry Gibson), and Connie White (Karen Black), who are singing onstage at the Grand Ole Opry, but who have limited pitch ranges, and slide their notes up and down the scale as they sing. These "country stars" wouldn't last 30 seconds at an "American Idol" audition. Simon Cowell would eat them alive and spit them out!

Most of the songs in the movie seem to be country song pastiches. (One song includes the lyrics, "The pilot light of our love has gone out" and "If makin' love is margarine, then you're a slippery spread.") Only occasionally do we get a sincere, well-sung country song, like Keith Carradine's "I'm Easy." Ronnie Blakely has a good role as a Loretta Lynn-style country singer who has an onstage meltdown at Opryland. But even her onstage meltdown seems phony -- it is a caricature of an onstage meltdown written by a Hollywood screenwriter. (Did she really need to make chicken sounds onstage to make the point that she was cracking up?)

The city of Nashville seems to have gone insane, but nobody seems to notice. A sound truck drives around, blaring political arguments for a populist presidential candidate. A man (Jeff Goldblum) rides around on a three-wheel motorcycle, stopping occasionally to do magic tricks. An annoying British journalist (Geraldine Chapman) keeps showing up at parties and bars and sticking her microphone in people's faces, asking them questions and ignoring their answers.

And of course, people talk, non-stop, about nothing in particular, in Altman's trademark overlapping dialogue, for two hours and forty minutes. This form of movie dialogue may be considered realistic, but in this case, I found it very boring.

Yes, I know, Altman was making a comment on the times, and the 1970's were a very surreal and superficial time. But the fact that Altman captured the surreal, superficial qualities of the 70's doesn't necessarily mean it's an interesting movie. I found the characters dull, the dialogue boring, and the plot fairly nonsensical. If I ever pass through this Nashville, remind me to stay on the bus to Memphis.
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