Wednesday, 15 October 2008


December 31st 1952 Hank Williams, Country singer/songwriter, a legend in his own time, is being driven to a planned concert in Ohio. Depressed, washing down painkillers with alcohol, he fantasises about pulling into one of the roadside bars and giving a New Year Eve Concert. We see that imagined concert as Hank first wows the patrons with his hits then begins to reflect on his troubled life, his drink problems, his failed marriages, his being dismissed from the Grand Ol'Opry. The next morning Williams is found dead in the backseat of his car. I first saw this film in the early 80's when it was shown on English television. At the time I knew little about Hank Williams but I found the film incredibly moving and I've always wanted to see it again. Even I, a big Williams fan now, tend to forget just how many Country classics, came from Williams' pen and many of the most famous are highlighted here but the most remarkable thing about the film is the performance by Sneezy Waters (repeating his stage success) as Hank which is far more than a simple impersonation. It is basically a one man show although there is memorable support when needed by Dixie Seatle, Sean DeWitt, Jackie Warrington and Sean McGann and for once praise must be heaped on the extras whose facial reactions provide a memorable chorus of emotion to the Williams songs. Direction is by David Acomba and screenplay is by Maynard Collins based on his own stage play. A gem that beats I WALK THE LINE hand down. Rating ****


Cerpts said...

I too have become a Hank Williams fan only in about the last decade so this movie really sounds interesting to me. And I've never even heard of it before. Once again, the Fleapit comes through throwing the spotlight on something that needs rediscovering!

Weaverman said...

Well, I hope somebody sends you a copy!