Posts Tagged ‘Henry Thomas’

The Hank Williams bio pic covering the last 3 days of his life has earned a positive review by Kerry Lengel in the Arizona Republic Newspaper.

Lengel sees right away that this not really a Hank Williams biography and has little to do with his music, but, as others have said as well, is more of a “gloomy buddy road trip flick”.

But Lengel sees a lot more positives than many other critics I have talked about on this blog.

He calls the movie starring Henry Thomas as Hank “a subtlety affecting character study”. He says, “Hank longs for a simple human connection”.

I liked this comment about Thomas who he says does not attempt to imitate Hank Williams physically, but does,  “immerse himself in the character he’s been given: old before his time, with a mean streak to match his ego and alienated from all humanity, including himself.”  Not everyone would agree with this gloomy depressing insight into Hank’s character and the pain of his short life here on earth, but there is an element of truth in it.

A final quote from the review continues this theme: ” ‘The Last Ride’ measures the distance between the myth and the man. And if that doesn’t make for the cheeriest of viewing experiences, it does offer an alternative to the easy sentimentality that powers the biopic formula.”

As far as we know the movie will open in a more general release, and is not yet available in DVD.

Here’s a link to the review.

And here’s a list of all my posts on this movie over the past several years!!

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‘The Last Ride’ film about the final lonely, isolated days of Hank Williams as he travels with only a 17 year old driver from Montgomery to Ohio on New Years 1952-53 will be shown at a number of theatres including Montgomery later this month.

The movie was  shown at a number of film festivals beginning in the spring.

It was directed by Arkansas native Harry Thomason, and stars Henry Thomas.

The film will open October 21st in Montgomery AL, Shreveport and West Monroe LA, and 4 locations in Arkansas where the movie was filmed: Rogers, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, and Little Rock.

This blog has run many articles and photos about  this film and its history.

Here are some of them. 

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The negative review comes from in the Arkansas Times ‘Rock Candy’ blog. The movie opened at the Little Rock Film Festival on Wednesday night June 1, 2011. Lindsey Millar likes the views of  Arkansas sites filmed by director Harry Thomason a native of the state. The movie was entirely shot in Arkansas.

But as for the film itself, she’s not too pleased.

Otherwise, I can’t think of any other reason to recommend this fictionalized take on the last days of Hank Williams. There’s no character development. No conflict that’s not formulaic. And the only action — some wild highway driving and a bar fight — looks like something out of a “Dukes of Hazzard” episode.

Meanwhile, I had a comment from someone who saw the film, which was  posted on one of my earlier articles about ‘The Last Ride’. Foxy Lady likes the Arkansas settings and finds the overall theme quite acceptable.

Foxy Lady

You have to give Last Ride credit for making the period correct in buildings, clothes, and the old cars were great. We loved seeing the Round Top Oil Station (how many are left like that), the small church with old wood pews, it all looked like it was perfect locations for the film. Lots of films leave you wondering what happens next but no cliff hanger here, he dies after living a sad life trying to make his fans happy. We need to respect that.

Give it a chance you may really like it, we did.

Here’s a link to the blog post in the Arkansas Times.

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It was a couple of years ago we first heard of various movie projects on the life of Hank Williams. At least 2 of those were to deal with the final days of Hank Williams life as he was driven from Montgomery to Ohio for a New Years Day show in 1953.

Then early in 2010 things started to get serious as I was lucky enough to some great reports from the Benton Courier newspaper and various people in Benton Arkansas on the shooting of the new movie under the direction of Harry Thomason of Mozark Productions. They sent me some great pictures of the filming.

In the past few days there was a rather bizarre turn of events when the Arkansas Times newspaper reported that the trailer for the movie had been released. Trailers are live action advertisements for a movie showing highlights. They are used in theaters to promote upcoming attractions.

In this case just as I was getting ready to write a little story on it and provide a link to the video, it was taken down from the internet. The Arkansas Times had to take it off their site and it was also removed from the source site called Trailer Addict.

The Arkansas Times says the trailer was released by mistake and some of the songs still need to be cleared from copyright. But the paper has been told the movie is 95 per cent finished.

I watched the trailer before it was pulled. The production values are of course very good and professional. It doesn’t look like some cheap home movie or documentary; it looks Hollywood. But from the trailer you can’t get much of an idea of the story line. There will be a lot of emphasis on the driver played by Jesse James.

But as I think I said earlier when we saw still pictures of the shoot, Henry Thomas looks far stronger and healthier than we imagine Hank Williams was at the time. We know from other sources that Hank was horribly thin and gaunt and not well as he made his way north. Whether Henry Thomas can capture the sadness and despair which gripped Hank Williams life in the last few months remains to be seen.

Here is a link which will bring up a convenient list of articles I have posted on the subject of recent movies about Hank Williams.

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A blog called SxDx.com with a reader comment board called “shout board” recently ran a little comment on the various Hank Williams movies in production or rumored to be in production. I thought the writer summed things up pretty well and and tried to sort out the confusion about which projects are active and which ones may never make it. Here’s the comment:
The first rumored Hank Williams biopic was/is a small-budget film tentatively titled “Lonesome Cowboy.” It was being made by Jeff Queen (a fledgling writer and deputy sheriff from Auburn, Alabama). Christopher Malpass was on the short list to play Hank. I’m not sure about the larger, Strike Entertainment film. Marc Abraham is writing the script and they have the cooperation of the Hank Williams estate (giving them exclusive access to most of Hank’s recordings). The book “Hank Williams: The Biography” (written by Colin Escott) is being used as a resource for the film and Escott will be associate producer. However, this news dates from last August and I haven’t heard any updates on either film since that time.
There is also a third project, dealing with the final days of Hank Williams, underway called “The Last Ride.” This one is being directed by well-known TV and film director Harry Thomason and some shooting has already been done in Benton, Arkansas. The production company has transformed downtown Benton, changing store fronts and signs and bringing in a fleet of local vintage automobiles. Apparently, shots of a vintage baby-blue Cadillac convertible were also taken in the Oak Hill, WV area. Thomason was involved in the West Virginia shoots, although there are different producers mentioned for the two projects. Jeff Queen from Alabama was the first producer, but this film is being co produced by Tim Jackson and Josh Miller of Category One Entertainment in central Arkansas. They are both Arkansas natives as is Thomason. The movie is being produced under a new Arkansas film production incentive program. The script was written by Howie Klausner and Dub Cornett (Klausner wrote “Space Cowboys” for Clint Eastwood). Henry Thomas is playing Hank Williams. According to IMDB, “The Last Ride” is in post -production.
So there you have it the very latest. I found about this posting because the writer kindly linked to my  site. Don’t be alarmed, this is some sort of punk rock site for a group called Social Distortion. The Hank Sr.  discussion came up under a discussion of Hank III. Here’s the link. Use the search to find the comment.
As regular readers of this blog well know I have been covering these various movie projects over the past year or so.

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I’m not sure what’s going on with this new Hank Williams’ biopic called ‘The Last Ride’ which was being filmed recently in Arkansas. But here’s a photo of one of the stars Kaley Cuoco.

And here’s  another shot of Henry Thomas who stars as Hank Williams.

I’ve heard some comments from some people who aren’t holding out much hope for this flick. I hate to say it but I can’t imagine what this sweet faced Kaley can possibly be doing in the film. And as others have mentioned Henry Thomas looks in pretty good shape, strong and healthy looking, compared to what we know was Hank’s condition at the time.

Let’s trust Harry Thomason who’s directing and hope for the best.

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Henry Thomas, the actor best known for his role in ET as a child, who is playing Hank Williams in a Harry Thomason film called ‘The Last Ride’ does have a musical background.

Although, if the movie sticks only to Hank’s last three days on earth, not much singing will be required, but since we haven’t seen the script we don’t know if flashbacks will be used. So I don’t know if Thomas will be required to perform. But the fact that he is a musician might be a hint that there will be some singing required.

According to Wikipedia, Thomas  worked with a Texas band called ‘The Blue Heelers’. The group produced an album on their own called ‘Twister’ which was played on radio and given some good reviews in Texas.  The band broke up in the late 90’s and since then Thomas has been pursuing some music projects on his own.

One of his songs with  the ‘Twisters’ called ‘Truckstop Coffee’ was featured on the soundtrack of the movie which Thomas appeared in called  ‘Niagara, Niagara’. Four songs written and performed by Thomas were featured in the movie  ‘Honey Baby’ in which Thomas played a singer. Thomas was working on a full album of his songs with Nikki Sudden when the project suddenly ended with her death in 2006.

If you are researching Thomas on the net you will soon learn that the “real” Henry Thomas, as far as music is concerned, was a legendary blues performer from the 20’s and 30′ who was known as Henry ‘Ragtime’ Thomas and is now seen as a blues pioneer. Lots of recordings by him on You Tube which are well worth listening to. Sings and plays in a Robert Johnson style.

I couldn’t find any clips from the modern Henry Thomas on You Tube, but there are 4 or 5 recordings of his own songs, sung  by Thomas on his My Space site. I thought the song ‘Good Cause to Grieve”, had a lot of Hank Williams’ elements in it, with a very sincere singing style.  Sounds like he is a real fan. Hope you enjoy it.

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