This film from Christopher Guest about a small-town theatre troupe struggling to put on a musical is as touching as it is hilarious.
Set in the (fictional) small town of Blaine, Missouri – the self-proclaimed home of the first UFO landing in the United States – the locals are preparing a musical show celebrating the burg’s 150th anniversary.
Its director is the effete New York transplant Corky St. Claire (writer-director Guest), who is assisted by high school music teacher Lloyd Miller (Bob Balaban) and speaks of a wife who is never seen.
The amateur show, Red, White and Blaine, is the focus of most of the film.
Corky casts the town’s travel agents, local hotshots Ron and Sheila Abertson (Fred Willard and Catherine O’Hara), two game but talentless locals who nevertheless are considered the “Lunts of Blaine, ” as well as local dentist Dr Allan Pearl (co-writer Eugene Levy) and Dairy Queen girl Libby Mae Brown (Parker Posey).
He also uses his connections to invite a Broadway producer named Mort Guffman to see the show, with an eye toward taking it to Broadway.
Many individual moments are quite funny – such as when the mayor (Larry Miller) explains to Corky why he can’t get $100,000 for the show when the town’s entire budget is only $15,000 – but Guest’s performance as Corky St. Clair, with his beaming eyes and bowl cut, his flamboyant-but-closeted mannerisms, his flat-out passion equalled only by his lack of talent, is one for the ages.
He’s a character at once so retrograde and so affectionately observed that Guffman became the ultimate cult film for a newly liberated generation.
The film was actually shot in Austin and Lockhart, Texas.
Corky St. Clair
Libby Mae Brown
Dr Allan Pearl
Mrs Allan Pearl
Mayor Glenn Welsch
Councilwoman Gwen Fabin-Blunt
Councilman Steve Stark
Councilman Tucker Livingston
Phil Burgess, Historian
Ping Pong Ball Juggler
Raging Bull Auditioner