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Kansas City

Director/Producer:Robert Altman
Writers:Robert Altman and Frank Barhydt
Director of Photography:Oliver Stapleton
Editor:Geraldine Peroni
Music Producer:Hal Willner
Production Designer:Stephen Altman
Fine Line; R; 110 minutes
Release:8/96
Cast:Jennifer Jason Leigh, Miranda Richardson, Harry Belafonte, Michael Murphy, Dermot Mulroney, Martin Martin, A. C. Smith, Joshua Redman and Craig Handy

Nashville it's not, but Kansas City is everything we've come to expect from Altman: sprawling, romantic and intricate. But the film is flawed, and much of the blame falls on Leigh; she overacts to the point that her character evokes no compassion and is not at all believable. The jazz, however, is not flawed and ties the stories together. Redman as Lester Young and Handy as Coleman Hawkins are perfectly cast and remind us why they are considered contemporary virtuosos. Set in 1930s Kansas City, when mobsters, prostitution and jazz ruled the city, Blondie O'Hara (Leigh) kidnaps Carolyn Stilton (Richardson), the wife of a local pol, hoping to trade Stilton for O'Hara's husband, Johnny (Mulroney), a dim thug who has crossed the local mob boss, Seldom Seen (Belafonte).


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