@THE VIDEO STORE “A Prairie Home Companion�?

20061013-prairie.jpgw/ F/ Stop Fitzgerald

Shot in High-Def video by auteur director Robert Altman, A Prairie Home Companion is the big budget version of what Garrison Keillor has staged for years…his very last show. This time, though, he augmented actual folksy singers and performers with actors who do a better job. To be fair, there are several cameras on the set at any time during these performances performed “live,�? as it were, so the regular radio personalities had little chance at competing with the seasoned camera targets; GK himself appeared the most natural, even though he (maybe)played a caricature of himself.

Since the movie plays out as a false history (and not documentary style at al), it’s no wonder why certain fantastic and outrageous elements were incorporated. A woman in a white trench coat walking around backstage turns out to be a ghost, originally killed by Garrison’s maiming of a joke about penguins. She comes to symbolically kill off the show, as well as its oldest patron, and finally the Axeman who is responsible for the troupe losing its Theatre. This last hit is anticlimactic revenge, for in the end the show goes on and ends, the set is striked and Guy Noir plays a sad piano lullaby, which transitions to a diner scene with the main cast talking about “putting the show on road�? and such, when all of a sudden…