Kansas City (film)
|Directed by||Robert Altman|
|Produced by||Robert Altman|
|Written by||Frank Barhydt|
|Starring||Jennifer Jason Leigh|
|Edited by||Geraldine Peroni|
|Distributed by||Fine Line Features|
Kansas City is a 1996 crime film directed by Robert Altman and starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Miranda Richardson, Harry Belafonte, Michael Murphy, and Steve Buscemi. The musical score of Kansas City is integrated into the film, with modern-day musicians recreating the Kansas City jazz of 1930s.
A kidnapping goes down in 1934 Kansas City. Blondie O'Hara's (Leigh) petty thief husband Johnny is taken by gangster "Seldom Seen" and held prisoner at the Hey Hey Club, one of the hot spots of the Kansas City jazz scene. Blondie herself kidnaps the wife of a local politician, Mrs. Stilton, who is addicted to laudanum (an opium liquid) and has secrets of her own. Blondie's plan is to blackmail Mr. Stilton into helping to free Johnny.
Despite the risk to his re-election campaign, Mr. Stilton does everything he can in order to free his wife by saving Johnny. Meanwhile, Mrs. Stilton comes to befriend Blondie. She is impressed by Blondie's devotion to her husband, contrasted to her own loveless marriage.
A subplot concerns political fixer Johnny Flynn (Buscemi) paying vagrants and addicts to vote in the upcoming election and sway the outcome.
- Jennifer Jason Leigh as Blondie O'Hara
- Miranda Richardson as Carolyn Stilton
- Harry Belafonte as Seldom Seen
- Michael Murphy as Henry Stilton
- Steve Buscemi as Johnny Flynn
- Dermot Mulroney as Johnny O'Hara
- Brooke Smith as Babe Flynn
- Jane Adams as Nettie Bolt
- Martin Martin as 'Blue' Green
- Frederick Louis Richardson as club dancer (extra)
Kansas City received mixed to positive reviews from critics, as it holds a 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 37 reviews.
The soundtrack was produced by Hal Willner and Steven Bernstein and featured several contemporary musicians playing the roles of jazz musicians from the 1930s. For example, Craig Handy plays the role of Coleman Hawkins, Geri Allen plays Mary Lou Williams, and James Carter plays Ben Webster.
|1.||"Blues in the Dark"||James Carter & Joshua Redman||4:54|
|2.||"Moten Swing"||Jesse Davis & James Carter||3:43|
|3.||"I Surrender Dear"||James Carter, Nicholas Payton & Cyrus Chestnut||6:02|
|4.||"Queer Notions"||Coleman Hawkins||David Murray, Russell Malone & Cyrus Chestnut||5:40|
|5.||"Lullaby of the Leaves"||Jesse Davis, Clark Gayton & Geri Allen||4:26|
|6.||"I Left My Baby"||Mark Whitfield, David Newman, Craig Handy & Curtis Fowlkes||7:24|
|7.||"Yeah, Man"||Craig Handy & Joshua Redman||5:00|
|8.||"Froggy Bottom"||Mary Lou Williams||Geri Allen, David Newman & Mark Whitfield||6:20|
|10.||"Pagin' the Devil"||Don Byron, Olu Dara & Clark Gayton||5:27|
|11.||"Lafayette"||Nicholas Payton, James Zollar & Olu Dara||4:04|
|12.||"Solitude (Reprise)"||Don Byron, Christian McBride & Ron Carter||4:05|
|US Top Jazz Albums (Billboard)||6|
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