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Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave

This Canadian production imagines country music legend Hank Williams (September 17, 1923 – January 1, 1953) giving a New Year's Eve performance in a small bar on the final night of his life, Dec. 31, 1952. Between songs Williams reflects back upon his life and career.

Unable to secure music rights for a theatrical release because of the drugs and alcohol scenes, this motion picture was only shown on HBO in the 1980s where it had extensive airplay.

Shot in 16mm, the film stars Sneezy Waters as Hank Williams Sr., in it Waters performs 23 Hank Williams songs including "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Hey, Good Looking," and "Why Don't You Love Me?".

According to Wikipedia: Waters changed some of the lyrics of "Too Many Parties", making it about the brother of a lawyer instead of a wayward woman. He added new lyrics to "Men With Broken Hearts" ("And even sleep brings no relief to these men who curse their births/they have no dreams of happiness left in heaven or on earth/for how can men have faith in God when faith in fellow man departs") and rearranged other lyrics.

The drama also stars Dixie Seatle, Sean McCann, Jackie Washington, Joel Zifkin, and Sean Hewitt. Written by Maynard Collins, based on his cabaret stage play.

Entertainment Weekly said, “Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave still fascinates, because it taps into the deep, melancholy power of its subject. Williams wrote masterpieces of country misery and was by all accounts a pretty miserable fellow himself.”

One of the most significant and impactful American singer / songwriters of all time, Hank Williams recorded 35 singles, including 5 released after his death, that reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, including 11 that went to number one.

Williams was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.


Initial release: December 31, 1980
Director: David Acomba

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Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave

 

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