By 1968, Cash was still a star, but he was a man with sometime to prove as he sought to rise from a career slump brought on by a battle with drugs that took a toll on his body and spirit. That year, Cash performed a concert for the inmates of California's Folsom Prison, and the show was recorded for a live album. Cash delivered one of the greatest performances of his life that day, stark and heartfelt and full of empathy for the broken souls listening to his music, and the album that resulted was a surprise hit, reestablishing Cash as one of country music's most powerful and respected artists. Written by
Ulf Kjell Gür
Despite the public image fed by his songs, and despite offenses that led him in jail for one night stands Johnny cash was never convicted and never did time in prison. He did know understand however very well the conditions of imprisonment of detainees and he understood their feelings. Having seen a 1951 film dedicated to the Folsom Prison, one of his first songs was 'Folsom Prison Blues', but it was only more than one decade later - in 1958 - that he did perform in the prison in a recorded concert that gives the title of this film.
Much of the film includes biographical information about Cash, and about the penitentiary system in America that Cash made great efforts to humanize and reform. Cash believed that any human being can be redeemed, even the worst criminals who committed horrific crimes, and he turned his conviction in deeds, not only by giving concerts in jails, but also by becoming personally involved in activities to reform the system, and befriending and personally helping - with mixed success
a number of prisoners. There are more interviews with the people who
were helped by Johnny Cash or were related to the prison system than musical information, and some music fans who were expecting a pure musical film may get disappointed. I actually think that this is the interesting part of the film, and there is enough good music left as well I especially liked the two animated clips on original music. The only missing stuff in my opinion is the lack of filmed sequences from the concert itself, but maybe there is none left. There is enough biographic information though to compensate this.
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