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Songwriter (1984)

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Willie and Kris on the road - sharing music...raising hell!

Willie and Kris? You better duck!

Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson declare war... On the music industry!

A good ol' boy comedy-drama, Songwriter flashes enough substance between the songs and the hijinks to qualify as a sometimes astute look into the darker areas of the music business. Willie Nelson plays Doc Jenkins, the title character, who conspires with longtime pal Blackie Buck (Kris Kristofferson) to turn the tables on a shady promoter, Rodeo Rocky (Richard Sarafian), who has Doc signed to a contract that is one step short of indentured servitude. Lesley Ann Warren plays Gilda, an up-and-coming country chanteuse whom Doc is tutoring. The rest of the supporting cast is a mix of veteran character players (Rip Torn, Melinda Dillon) and musicians associated with Nelson (Mickey Raphael, Bee Spears, Jody Payne, Johnny Gimble). There are also plenty of musical numbers featuring Nelson and Kristofferson (solo and duets). The musicians/actors went on to co-star in two TV movies, A Pair of Aces and Another Pair of Aces, essentially playing the same kind of good ol' boy characters, though as detectives, not songwriters.

Songwriter is a 1984 film, directed by Alan Rudolph.
The film concerns Doc Jenkins, (Willie Nelson), a country and western composer and the devious tricks he employs to extricate himself from his legal entanglement with a Nashville gangster entrepreneur who takes all the profits from his songs. Fed up with life touring, and making no money from recordings of his music, Doc has turned to managing the career of his old singing partner Blackie Buck, (Kris Kristofferson). Doc takes a further client - a woman singer, Gilda, (Lesley Ann Warren). He wants to get back with his ex-wife Honey (Melinda Dillon). He wants solid ground beneath his feet again.
The film is a satirical comedy about an artist seeking his freedom. The material is loosely based on Willie Nelson's own life, and legend, and finances. His song "Night Life", for example, which he sold in 1961 for $150, went on to be recorded by over 70 artists and sold more than 30 million copies.[1]
The film is reviewed, favourably, by the critic Pauline Kael in her collection of movie reviews, Hooked. "Playing a vain, laid-back sensualist, the silver bearded Kristofferson has a smiling glow; he has never been more at ease; Rip Torn is the pictures insurance against gentility. Everything he says sounds mean and dirty, and even when you can't understand his snarled out words he makes you laugh. Rhonda Dotson has something of Teri Garr's manic alertness and dippiness, too, but in a softer form. She's a romantic comedienne with awesome poise. Richard C. Sarafian has a whomping comic menace. Lesley Ann Warren's Gilda is spectacular. When we first see Gilda, she's a singer with no belief in herself and no class; she's an incredibly beautiful girl in a red dress [but] when Doc grooms her to go out as the opening act for Blackie, she begins to learn something about taste and musicianship, and her voice flowers. Besides being one of the great beauties of the screen, Warren can sing

Release Date: October 19, 1984

Distrib: Tristar

Boxoffice: $865,915 2013: $2,074,600


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