Songwriter is a 1984 film, directed by Alan Rudolph.
This film concerns Doc Jenkins, (Willie Nelson), a country and western composer and the devious tricks he employs to extricate himself from his legal entanglement with a Nashville gangster entrepreneur who takes all the profits from his songs. Fed up with life touring, and making no money from recordings of his music, Doc has turned to managing the career of his old singing partner Blackie Buck, (Kris Kristofferson). Doc takes a further client - a woman singer, Gilda, (Lesley Ann Warren). He wants to get back with his ex-wife Honey (Melinda Dillon). He wants solid ground beneath his feet again.
The film is a satirical comedy about an artist seeking his freedom. The material is loosely based on Willie Nelson's own life, and legend, and finances. His song "Night Life", for example, which he sold in 1961 for $150, went on to be recorded by over 70 artists and sold more than 30 million copies.
The film is reviewed, favourably, by the critic Pauline Kael in her collection of movie reviews, Hooked. "Playing a vain, laid-back sensualist, the silver bearded Kristofferson has a smiling glow; he has never been more at ease; Rip Torn is the pictures insurance against gentility. Everything he says sounds mean and dirty, and even when you can't understand his snarled out words he makes you laugh. Rhonda Dotson has something of Teri Garr's manic alertness and dippiness, too, but in a softer form. She's a romantic comedienne with awesome poise. Richard C. Sarafian has a whomping comic menace. Lesley Ann Warren's Gilda is spectacular. When we first see Gilda, she's a singer with no belief in herself and no class; she's an incredibly beautiful girl in a red dress [but] when Doc grooms her to go out as the opening act for Blackie, she begins to learn something about taste and musicianship, and her voice flowers. Besides being one of the great beauties of the screen, Warren can sing."