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This Machine Kills Fascists (2005)

Video  |   |  Documentary  |  2005 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 21 users  
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A documentary on the career and life of Woody Guthrie.


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Title: This Machine Kills Fascists (Video 2005)

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Credited cast:
Jorge Arevalo
Dan Bern
Thelma Bray
Phil Buehler
Clara Belle Smith Coole
Loralee Cooley
Ed Cray
Mary Joe Edgmon
Nora Guthrie
Woody Guthrie ...
(archive footage)
Felicia Katz
Harold Leventhal
Guy Logsdon


A documentary on the career and life of Woody Guthrie.

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Release Date:

2005 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Lengthy, Thorough, Somewhat Unfocused Commemoration
4 August 2008 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

This biographic documentary reflects on the life of legendary folk musician Woody Guthrie through a series of interviews with his friends, colleagues, children and biographers.

Highlights include wisdom and memories from the always-inspiring Pete Seeger and other Guthrie friends and colleagues. The film reveals Guthrie's history well, and paints a surprisingly detailed (occasionally contradictory in fact) portrait of Guthrie as a reactor to his times.

Unlike more effective commemorative pieces, This Machine relies very heavily on footage from the interviews that compose the subject, and is presented with chronological rigor. The film would have been more effective had the director used a thematic approach to organizing the film, and the cinematography would have been improved by more consistent use of the interview material as voice-overs for montages of historical films and photos.

My last criticism concerns Billy Bragg. Although I enjoy a lot of Mr. Bragg's music, and understand the reverence with which he approached this project, I have to say that Bragg is not an evocative narrator. His narrative segments are too easily ignored- stiff, monotone and predictable.

Worth seeing by fans of Guthrie and Seeger. However, Guthrie's best biography is his autobiography. This film is NOT an introduction to early/mid-twentieth century American folk music.

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