Ken Tucker
November 27, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave

Current Status
In Season
Sneezy Waters
David Acomba
Maynard Collins
Drama, musical

We gave it a B+

Country-music great Hank Williams died of heart failure in the backseat of a Cadillac carrying him to a stadium concert in Ohio on Jan. 31, 1952. Writer Maynard Collins and director David Acomba took these facts and added a small fantasy: In this Canadian-made feature film, Williams asks his driver to stop at a little roadside honky-tonk, where the star gives the small crowd a thrill with an impromptu concert. Williams is played by one Sneezy Waters, who isn’t much of an actor and is even less of a singer — he sounds like Hank with bad allergies. But 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. Show depicts him as an artist alienated by his own stardom, hoping for some small pleasure by connecting with a few people in a bar. Waters’ Hank sings a slew of songs, gets drunk, shoots drugs into his arm in a back room, and then climbs back into his car to die. Dark, eerie, and atmospheric, this Show is a heartfelt work. B+

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