- Rated: R
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 1 hours, 55 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: February 15, 2005
- Originally Released: 1996
- Label: New Line Home Video
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.85
- Dolby Surround 5.1 English
- Dolby Surround Stereo 2.0 English
- Additional Release Material:
- Audio Commentary
- Trailers: Theatrical Trailer
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Rolling Stone - 08/22/1996
"...Brimming over with vibrant, vital music....Jazz lovers, rejoice..."
Sight and Sound - 12/01/1996
"...Altman and KANSAS CITY are to be praised..."
USA Today - 08/16/1996
"...Jennifer Jason Leigh and Miranda Richardson are synergetic perfection..." -- 3 1/2 out of 4 stars
Entertainment Weekly - 08/23/1996
"...[Altman] choreographs a swell story....So much is satisfying..."
Variety - 05/13/1996
"...The omnipresent jazz score is a constant pleasure....[The] production design provides a terrifically atmospheric world for the characters to inhabit..."
Los Angeles Times - 08/16/1996
"...So much is wonderful and distinctive about this picture....KANSAS CITY is a moody, great-looking period piece..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 08/16/1996
"...There's a lot more to the film than its story....The film does a good job of re-creating the period..."
Robert Altman's hometown gets the director's signature treatment in this jazz-infused mobster tale set in the 1930s. KANSAS CITY takes place in the jazz-drenched, depression-era milieu of the eponymous city, focusing on a 24-hour relationship between two extremely different women. Trashy, brassy and uneducated Blondie O'Hara (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is desperately searching for her equally lowlife husband Jack (Dermot Mulroney) who has been captured by the vicious Seldom Seen (Harry Belafonte) after attempting to rob one of his casino's greatest losers. In a move typical of her off-kilter personality, Blondie kidnaps Carolyn Stilton (Miranda Richardson), a rich, unhappy, drug-using socialite, and drags her around town as she searches for Jack. The experience these disparate women endure provides insight into themes Altman often explores in his films, including class differences, and the hypocrisy and delusion he finds extant in American culture. As in Altman's prior films--notably NASHVILLE and SHORT CUTS--he includes a terrific musical backdrop to add depth to the story. Assembling a who's who of modern jazz greats, KANSAS CITY captures perhaps some of the most invigorating musical performances that have been committed to celluloid, including an unforgettable tenor saxophone duel between James Carter and Joshua Redman.
Description by Warner Home Video:
In Kansas City during the Depression, a young man robs a gambler and is held hostage by a mysterious night club owner. In response, the man's wife kidnaps a socialite, whom she tries to trade for her husband.
Robert Altman's hometown gets the director's signature treatment--exploring themes such as class differences, and the hypocrisy and delusion he finds extant in American culture--in this jazz-infused mobster tale set in the 1930s. When a small-time gangster crosses the town's mob kingpin and subsequently gets taken prisoner, his movie-mad wife kidnaps a drug-addled society woman in hopes of forcing a captive swap. Contemporary jazz musicians provide the evocative score in this atmospheric period piece.
- KANSAS CITY was released theatrically on August 16, 1996.
- The film was shot on location in Kansas City, Missouri, director Robert Altman's hometown.
- The film was shown in competition at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Golden Palm.
- Musicians who came together to perform at the recreated Hey-Hey Club: Kevin Mahogany (vocalist); Russell Malone and Mark Whitfield (guitar); Victor Lewis (drums); Geri Allen and Cyrus Chestnut (piano); Ron Carter, Tyrone Clarke, and Christian McBride (bass); James Carter, Craig Handy, David Murray, and Joshua Redman (tenor saxophone); Jesse Davis and David 'Faithhead' Newman Jr. (alto saxophone); Don Byron (clarinet/baritone saxophone); Olu Dara, Nicholas Payton, and James Zollar (trumpet); Curtis Fowlkes and Clark Gayton (trombone).