6.5/10
69
6 user 8 critic

The Legend of Hillbilly John (1972)

A wandering ballad singer in the Appalachians meets an ugly bird-type creature, is transported back in time, finds himself involved in the Devil's work.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Hedges Capers ...
John
...
Mr. Marduke
...
Polly Wiltse
...
Capt. Lojoie H. Desplain IV
...
Grandpappy John
...
Bristowe
...
Zebulon Yandro
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Cobart
...
Charles
Sharon Henesy ...
Lily
Honor Hound ...
Himself
Chester Jones ...
Uncle Anansi
...
O. J. Onselm
William Traylor ...
Reverend Millen
White Lightnin' ...
Themselves
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Storyline

A wandering ballad singer in the Appalachians meets an ugly bird-type creature, is transported back in time, finds himself involved in the Devil's work. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

mountain folk swear it's true See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

G
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

February 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ballad of Hillbilly John  »

Filming Locations:


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Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in My Best Friend's Birthday (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Nebuchadezzer
Music by Hedges Capers
Lyrics by Melvin Levy
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User Reviews

 
A dark magical fantasy inspired by folk tales of the Carolinas.
28 May 2000 | by (Tacoma WA) – See all my reviews

A dark magical fantasy based on several of Manly Wade Wellman's stories about a guitar player who wanders across the rural American Southeast, confronting evil magicians, monsters, and perhaps the Devil himself.

The special effects are of only medium quality, even for 1973, and I can only suggest looking past them to the down-home, country-flavored fairy tale being told, woven together from fireside stories and folk traditions Wellman heard and adapted.

It's always hard to put on film what a poetic writer has described - the charm and mystery of Wellman's beloved Carolinan countryside, the old-fashioned courtesies and customs of the mountain people - and this movie does not quite succeed, perhaps because it did not really try. The magical creatures are put in the foreground, and the setting (Wellman's true love) is made a generic Southern backdrop. John in the book is a devout Christian (more, he might could be a friend of Christ); John in the movie is darkly hinted to be a son of the Devil.

My own enjoyment of this movie was very mixed: I felt frustrated by how often and how far the movie fell short of the books, and tantalized more by what the movie *could* have been than by what it *was*, but I'm glad I didn't miss seeing it.

If you also enjoyed the movie and want to see more of the character, read Wellman's "Silver John" books: "Who Fears the Devil?" (or "John the Balladeer"), "The Old Gods Waken", "After Dark", "The Lost and the Lurking", "The Hanging Stones", and "The Voice of the Mountain". There are also Wellman fan sites on the Web.


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