2005 Melbourne International Film Festival : Hank Williams - Honky Tonk Blues (2004)

4th August 2005

Director: Norman Melville

Tagline: "They came out of their chairs and threw their babies in the air!"

This documentary was made as part of the American Masters series for PBS in the US and follows the life of Hank Williams through the experiences of those around him, archival footage, old photos, posters and his recordings. I would have just sat in the theatre and just listened to his songs for two hours (this documentary would have also worked on CD.)

As I have a strong interest in country music and its origins, I felt I had to find out more about Hank Williams. You will have probably heard one of his songs even without knowing it as he has had a huge influence on many musicians.

I can’t understand why so many people say they ‘hate’ country music as they must see something different in it to me. What I enjoyed the most about this documentary is that it showed that Hank Williams and artists like him were the rock stars of their generation, decades before that term became known.

Incidents that were recounted such as Hank having to buy new guitars all the time as he broke them over people’s heads to his eventual death in the back of his powder blue Cadillac after he had only been eating eggs with tomato sauce on them for months could only be dreamed of by today’s supposed rock stars.

The people who they interviewed had some great stories to tell themselves apart from the two incidents outlined above. Hank Williams Jnr and Hank Williams III were also interviewed and gave a great insight.

I would definitely recommend watching this documentary when it comes on TV in your area if you have any interest in music as it is such a great story. In the meantime, I have a quite a few CDs to go buy so I can catch up.

Rating: 8/10