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The lives of 24 major characters during five days in the country music capital of the world.
For more about Nashville and the Nashville Blu-ray release, see the Nashville Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on November 28, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Lily Tomlin, Keith Carradine, Barbara Harris, Ronee Blakely, Henry Gibson, Geraldine Chaplin
Director: Robert Altman
» See full cast & crew
Nashville Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, November 28, 2013
Robert Altman's "Nashville" (1975) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film; audio commentary by Robert Altman; brand new documentary film produced by Criterion; three archival interviews with the American director; Keith Carradine demo; and raw footage from the shooting of the film. The release also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring Molly Haskell's essay "America Singing". In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
This fabulous film directed by the great Robert Altman is truly impossible to describe with simple words. At best a writer can give a sense of what the film is about, but cannot possibly describe it. Because the film is too complex and certainly too unique, I will attempt to do precisely that - give you a sense of what to expect when you decide to experience it.
Nashville is essentially a plotless film that captures an atmosphere and rhythm of life while observing more than 24 different characters. Remembering their names or following closely what they do is not essential to appreciate the film. You need to focus on how they do what they do.
The film takes place over five days in Nashville, where a music festival and a busy presidential campaign for Replacement Party candidate Hal Phillip Walker have mixed up guests of the city and local residents. Some are excited to be there, some are annoyed, and some are yet to decide whether they like all the publicity and attention Nashville is getting.
At first Altman observes the activities from afar. His camera moves freely through the groups of people and quickly jumps from one location to another. Then the camera gradually comes closer and spends more time following parts of random conversations. After various characters are introduced, you will slowly be able to identify the most important ones. Pay close attention to their attitudes and manners, not the events they are a part of or the order in which these events are presented.
There is a highway crash sequence where the film switches gears. At this point the crash and the media hype surrounding the music festival and the presidential campaign have already effectively altered the rhythm of life in Nashville. There is confusion, tension and chaos, and people are interpreting what they see and hear differently. Now is the time to start paying close attention to what the many colorful characters have to say. There are angry statements, misleading confessions, and plenty of half-truths. Between them there are also beautiful songs with wonderful but misleading lyrics.
Political overtones emerge during the second half of the film. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy is frequently brought up, party loyalty is addressed, and past and present voting trends are discussed. But Altman does not use any of the subjects to formulate and endorse a political message. The focus of attention is strictly on the diversity of views and reactions, the manner in which opinions are formed, promoted and manipulated.
Nashville has a lot to say about America and the System that makes it what it is - a nation of fascinating contrasts. It was completed in 1975, but I cannot think of another film, more recent or from the same era, that captures better the essence of living in America. Indeed, the clothes, the hairstyles and the music might have changed, but the contradictions, the tensions, the ambitions and dreams are still the same as those witnessed in Nashville.
The cast is massive and impressive. Keith Carradine plays the handsome country singer Tom Frank, Michael Murphy is the suave presidential campaign manager John Triplette, Lily Tomlin is the bored housewife Linnea Reese who is ready to have an affair, Geraldine Chaplin is the curious but slightly annoying British reporter Opal, Gwen Welles is the ambitious but very naive waitress Sueleen Gay, Ronee Blakley is the country star Barbara Jean, the beautiful Karen Black is her rival Connie White, Henry Gibson is the local country celebrity Haven Hamilton, Merle Kilgore is the club manager Trout, and a very young Jeff Goldblum is the cool Tricycle Man. There are also some notable cameos. Julie Christie, Elliott Gould, and Grammy-award artist Vassar Clements, for instance, play themselves.
Note: In 1976, Nashville won Oscar Award for Best Music, Original Song (Keith Carradine for the song "I'm Easy").
Nashville Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Robert Altman's Nashville arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray release:
"This new digital transfer was created in 2K resolution on a Spirit 2K film scanner from a 35mm interpositive. The 2K files were restored by Paramount Pictures at Technicolor Los Angeles using MTI's Correct and Inferno software systems.
The 5.1 surround soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from 35mm LCRS and the D/M/E magnetic tracks. Clicks, thumps, hiss, and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD. Crackle was attenuated using AudioCube's integrated workstation.
Supervising remastering producer: Kim Englert.
Colorist: Mike Underwood/Technicolor Los Angeles.
Image restoration: Dennis O'Neill, Paul Hill."
Image depth and especially clarity are dramatically improved. During the daylight footage, in particular, the improvements are substantial. Contrast levels are stable. My feeling is that sharpness could have been better, but considering the fact that the transfer was struck from an interpositive the current look of the film is indeed very pleasing. Colors are stable and well saturated, never appearing boosted. There are no traces of problematic degraning corrections. Also, there are no traces of sharpening adjustments. Image stability is excellent - there are absolutely no transition issues or warps. Additionally, there are no large debris, cuts, damage marks, or stains to report in this review. However, I did notice a few tiny flecks popping up here and there. To sum it all up, this is a strong organic presentation of Nashville that is guaranteed to please fans of the film. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Nashville Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray release: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
The new lossless 5.1 track is quite simply outstanding. Clarity and especially depth are wonderful. Because the film has such an elaborate soundtrack, the excellent balance and fluidity also make quite a difference when one compares the lossly track on the DVD release to the new lossless track. The dialog is crisp, free of background hiss, stable, and very easy to follow. Also, there are no audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review.
Nashville Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Nashville Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Robert Altman's Nashville is a true American classic. Incredibly thought-provoking and brilliantly directed and acted, the film is unquestionably in a league of its own. I personally also believe that it is as relevant today as it was during the '70s. Criterion's technical presentation of Nashville is very good. Also included on this upcoming Blu-ray release is an excellent new documentary featuring very illuminating interviews with various cast and crew members. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Nashville Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: December 3-10 - December 1, 2013
For the week of December 3rd, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is bringing the superior unrated cut of The Wolverine to Blu-ray. Other titles include Season 16 of The Simpsons, the dramedy Drinking Buddies, the long-delayed slasher All the Boys Love Mandy ...
• Criterion Announces December Titles - September 16, 2013
The Criterion Collection has announced nine titles for Blu-ray release in December: On December 3rd, the studio will release Elio Petri's Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970) and Robert Altman's Nashville (1975). On December 10, the studio will release ...
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