One of the most ambitious, and more artistically, successful, ‘backstage’ musical dramas, Robert Altman’s Nashville is strung on the plot thread of a George Wallace-type pre-Presidential campaign in which the interactions of 24 principal characters are followed over the period of a few days in the country music capitol of America.
Outstanding among the players are Henry Gibson, as a respected music vet with an eye on public office; Ronee Blakely, in a great film debut as a c&w femme star on the brink of nervous collapse; Gwen Welles, drawing tears from stone as a pitiably untalented waitress who undergoes the humiliation of stripping at a stag party for a chance to sing.
Among some real life cameos are Elliott Gould and Julie Christie, both as themselves on p.a. tours.
Nashville is one of Altman’s best films, free of the rambling insider fooling around that sometimes mars entire chunks of every second or third picture. When he navigates rigorously to defined goals, however, the results are superb.
1975: Best Song (‘I’m Easy’).
Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Supp. Actress (Ronee Blakely, Lily Tomlin)