Coming to PBS’s American Masters this Saturday, March 4:
Barbara J Hall
American Masters (March 2017)
An appreciation of the influential country music singer.
Timed to coincide with Women’s History Month, this hourlong portrait pays tribute to the enduring legacy of Patsy Cline, despite her surprisingly brief career, cut short in an airplane accident in 1963 at the age of 30. Like other profiles in the venerable PBS series, the doc follows a conventional biographical structure, telling the story of how Virginia Patterson Hensley, raised by a single mother in Winchester VA, broke into the music industry as the indelible singer of such standards as “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “I Fall to Pieces,” and “Crazy.” What distinguishes the project – aside from its infectiously appealing subject – is its use of archival material, both fantastic performance footage dating back to some of Cline’s earliest appearances, as well as later interviews with family members and collaborators reflecting on their history together and her lasting impact. These are supplemented with present-day commentary from modern day country performers like Reba McEntire and LeAnn Rimes and others influenced by Cline’s pioneering work as a woman in the traditionally male-dominated country music scene, including screenwriter Callie Khouri and actress Beverly D’Angelo, who portrayed the singer in COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER, a film that helped reinvigorate interest in Cline’s music.