First there was "Wasn't That A Time", the 1982 documentary about the Weavers, a folk group who were blacklisted in the McCarthy era and made a triumphal return to Carnegie Hall in 1981. They were clearly getting on in years (Lee Hayes of that group died shortly afterward) and it seemed likely this would be the last such reunion.
Now comes "Isn't This A Time" and by golly, there are the Weavers again (minus Hayes of course), plus Peter Paul and Mary, Arlo Guthrie, Leon Bibb, and many other "folkies" from the 50s and 60s. This time it's a Carnegie Hall tribute to Harold Leventhal, who managed (and discovered) so many folk singers of that era.
It's sweet nostalgia, but likely a film that will appeal more to those who are of an age to remember these singers and groups when they were at their prime. (When I saw this film the vast majority of the audience had distinctly Gray hair...if they had hair at all!) Younger viewers, unless they are students of folk history, might not be all that impressed watching- and hearing- a lot of elderly musicians singing songs of freedom and protest. That's unfortunate, as this really is very likely the last time many of these people will be reunited for such a concert. If you're old enough to remember the folk era by all means see this film- it's a delightful documentary. But don't be surprised if your kids (or grandkids) "don't get it".
And I have to add that the thought running through my mind while watching this film was the similarities to the 2003 mocumentry, "A Mighty Wind". Indeed, the IMDb biography for Harold Levanthal states that he was the model for Irving Steinbloom in "A Mighty Wind". If you enjoyed that film, see "Isn't This A Time" and learn about the real Irving Steinbloom.
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