Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues

Director: Morgan Neville
Year: 2004
Country: USA
Running time: 81 mins

Screenplay: Morgan Neville, Colin Escott
Photography: Jeff Steinborn
Editor: James Ford
Beta-SP/PG adult themes

With: Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr, Hank Williams III, Merle Haggard, Goerge Jones, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Tony Bennett

Festivals: London 2004
Hank Williams was the first country music superstar. A town-bred boy from Alabama, quite probably afflicted with spina bifida, he made himself the world’s greatest cowboy singer. Handsome, charming, a little dangerous, he wowed audiences, wooed women, and wrote some of the most enduring sad songs in the country repertoire – “Cold, Cold Heart”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “You Win Again” – and several of the most rockin’. This documentary collects all the known footage of Williams and recounts the story of his comet-like career through the reminiscences of band mates, friends, and family. They tell of a hell-raiser, a hard-living wild man who was too crazy for the staid Opry, too famous too fast for his own good and who drank himself to death on New Year’s Eve 1952, aged 29.

“A vital piece of historical testimony… Williams brought hillbilly music to the masses and where he couldn’t go, his songs would, as evidenced by footage of Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Tony Bennett and Norah Jones covering his work.” — Phil Gallo, Variety