Kansas City (1996)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

France/USA, 1996, .  Screenplay by Robert Altman, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Robert Altman.  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Cannes Film Festival 1996New York Film Critics Awards 1996.  

Robert Altman falters somewhat in this story of jazz clubs and gangsters in Depression-era Kansas City, Oklahoma, but the film does have its worthy moments. Jennifer Jason Leigh (overdoing it as usual) plays a diehard Jean Harlow fan who kidnaps a wealthy politician’s wife (Miranda Richardson) in order to get the rich woman’s husband to help save her fiance () from a gangster (). Altman’s trademark, that of a large ensemble cast, is in evidence here, but the real pleasure to be gained from it is the many scenes inside Belafonte’s club, where some of the best jazz music scenes ever filmed are available to watch and enjoy. The rest is a so-so story that takes far too long to get to where it is so obviously going. Richardson, however, gives one of her most admirable performances to date.

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