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Kansas City by Robert Altman []



It’s 1934 and on the eve of a local election in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as Blondie, a comically fast talking wife of a petty thief. When her husband gets picked up by an intimidating local jazz and gambling club owner stroke gangster named Seldom Seen (played by the great musician and activist Harry Belafonte), Blondie hatches a kidnapping scheme of her own. At gunpoint she drags Carolyn Stilton, the opium addicted wife of a local senator, along through the city in an attempt to free her husband. Miranda Richardson and Altman mainstay Michael Murphy are cast as the seemingly loveless Stilton couple.

Tension enters the film only moments after it begins and it continues to build and build throughout. The backdrop of this chilling drama is the soulful and swinging jazz music that pulsates from Seldom Seen’s Hey Hey Club. In addition, Steve Buscemi, in a role that seems to have served as a warm up for his stint on Boardwalk Empire, is one of the many actors who appear in memorable smaller parts.

Kansas City, though not as loose and off the cuff as many classic Altman movies of the 1970’s, is possibly the director’s most suspenseful.

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