Robert Altman

Kansas City

Altman revisits the 1930s city of his childhood, vividly recreating its jazz clubs, speakeasies, political corruption and lively crime scene.

Image from Kansas City

USA-France 1996
Dir Robert Altman
With Miranda Richardson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Harry Belafonte, Dermot Mulroney, Steve Buscemi
Certificate 15
Print courtesy of the Robert Altman Collection at the UCLA Film & Television Archive

Rooted partly in Altman’s recollections of his childhood, this brings together the staging of a 1930s jamming contest between Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, and the various unfortunate consequences of the kidnapping of a local politician’s wife. The evocation of the untamed city’s speakeasies, gangsters, corrupt politicians and jazz clubs is memorably vivid, the acting terrific, the music – played by top jazzers – superb.