Did the actors in Nashville really do their own singing? Plus, What movie is this and more questions answered!

Question: I recently saw Nashville for the first time and have two questions. First, the end credits for the songs seem to indicate that most of them were actually sung by the actors and actresses rather than dubbed. Were they really singing the songs? If so, they sounded pretty good to me.

Second, maybe I missed something, but why was the singer shot at the big rally -- what did the shooter have against her? Thanks -- Marty.


FlickChick: Not did the cast of Robert Altman's Nashville (1975) -- who, with the exception of Ronee Blakely, had little or no professional music training or experience -- perform their songs, but many wrote them as well. And almost without exception, they're terrific. For me, the only truly unconvincing performer is Lily Tomlin, who plays white gospel singer Linnea Reese. She just plain can't sing, and putting a genuine gospel choir behind her only makes her vocal deficiencies more glaringly apparent.

B-movie stalwart Karen Black, who plays steel magnolia Connie White (equal parts Lynn Anderson and Tammy Wynette) is a revelation: She can seriously sing. And Keith Carradine -- who plays one-third of feuding folk trio Bill, Mary and Tom (gee, Peter, Paul and Mary, you think?) -- won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for "I'm Easy" (. Carradine also wrote "It Don't Worry Me," which bedraggled, runaway housewife Albuquerque (Barbara Harris) sings in sad, truncated snippets throughout the film. She finally gets her moment in the spotlight in the film's devastating final scene.

As to your second question, nothing really. At least nothing that makes sense to a normal person. Nowhere man Kenny Frasier ( David Hayward), who skulks around the background of Nashville before taking center stage at the Centennial Park rally for "Replacement Party" candidate Hal Phillip Walker, is the film's Mark David Chapman or Yolanda Saldivar.

The chilling thing is that screenwriter Joan Tewksbury created Kenny a full five years before Chapman killed John Lennon and 20 years before Saldivar, one-time president of Tejano star Selena Quintanilla Perez's fan club, murdered her idol.

Question: Recently I was up late and saw a movie with Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson. The plot was a lot like Mel Gibson's movie, Payback. Was Payback a remake -- I don't remember ever hearing that it was. -- Cynthia

FlickChick: Payback (1999) was based on Donald Westlake's novel The Hunter (published under his "Richard Stark" pseudonym), as was John Boorman's Point Blank (1967), which starred Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson. So strictly speaking, Payback isn't a remake: It just shares the same source material as Point Blank, which is the superior movie on every level

Question: I'm beating my brains out trying to remember the title of movie I saw on TV about a year ago.

It was about three sisters who either sang or played musical instruments and lived with their musical professor father. Two of the sisters fall in love with one of the father's students. One sister realizes they both love the same man and runs off to marry another musician; he turns into a drunk and later dies in a car crash... the scene I remember most is one of the sisters swinging on the fence (white picket, of course!) with her father's student the day they meet.

I think it's from the 30's, but I can't be sure. I know there was a sequel, which I'd love to see. Can you help me with my terrible memory? -- Lisa


FlickChick: I can. You saw Four Daughters (1938), based on the Fannie Hurst novel Sister Act (the hugely popular Hurst also wrote Back Street and Imitation of Life) and directed by Michael Curtiz, who went on to make Casablanca.

Claude Rains plays Adam Lemp, the father, and sisters Lola, Rosemary and Priscilla Lane star as, respectively, his daughters Thea, Kay and Ann. There's a fourth Lemp sister and there was also a fourth Lane Leota -- who a successful stage actress; she was tested but rejected and Gale Page was cast instead.

The music student who causes all the heartache was played by the bland Jeffrey Lynn it's a little hard to imagine one of the talented, vivacious girls falling head over heels for him, let alone two. He was a last minute replacement for the charismatic but unreliable Errol Flynn, who just didn't show up. John Garfield made his movie debut as the other musician, and it's an amazing performance: When I think wounded, brooding, chip-on-the-shoulder anti-heroes, I think of the 1950s and actors like Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando and, of course, James Dean. But Garfield is playing exactly that character, and he's electrifying he richly deserved his best supporting actor Oscar nomination, though he didn't win.

Here's a long trailer for [ i]Four Daughters[/url] -- it gives you a good look at the whole cast.

Four Daughters was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, but didn't win in those categories either.

There were actually two sequels: Four Wives (1940) and Four Mothers (1941). The Lanes also appeared in Daughters Courageous (1939), which very deliberately sounds like a sequel to Four Daughters: It reunited the cast, most of the same crew and tells basically the same story about a nominally different family.

Question: Can help me identify a very short series on PBS some time ago ...maybe 12 to 15 years? It was about young pregnant woman who sort of appointed herself a detective; I think there were at least three episodes. Thank you -- Janet

FlickChick: It was either the third or fourth installment of An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, a series of four mystery miniseries revolving around detective Cordelia Gray (Helen Baxendale). She's pregnant in the third, " Living on Risk," and hugely pregnant in the fourth, " Playing God." Baxendale was pregnant in real life, and the writers incorporated her condition into the stories.

The first installment, "Sacrifice," was directly based on P.D. James' 1972 novel An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, in which Cordelia inherits the failing Pryde Detective Agency from her boss, ex-cop Bernie Pryde. Cordelia went to work for Pryde as an office temp, but wound up his assistant and, in the process, learned a good deal about . Even though or perhaps because people tell her that chasing criminals is "an unsuitable job for a woman," she decides to keep the Pryde Agency open. The second, "The Last Embrace," was based on James second and last Cordelia Gray novel, The Skull Beneath the Skin (1982).

"Living on Risk," and "Playing God" were original stories and James was extremely unhappy about the direction in which the screenwriters took her Cordelia.

Send your movie questions to FlickChick.

Hear Maitland on the weekly podcast TV Guide Talk.

See Maitland McDonagh and Ken Fox review this week's new flicks on the Movie Talk vodcast.