A unique concert given to the long term inmates of the famous jail. Johnny and June sing 'Wanted Man' ( written especially for the concert by Bob Dylan) and 'San Quentin', (written by Cash ... See full summary »
June Carter Cash,
The problem with this documentary on Johnny Cash's famous concert at Folsom Prison of course is that there is no video footage of the event itself. Yes, there are audio tapes of rehearsals, stills photography and naturally the record itself but when the producer has to resort to fleshing out the story of the concert with a featurette on Glen Sherley, the convict whose song Cash played at the concert and to whom Cash attempted to give encouragement on his release, as well as a potted history of the man himself, you feel that there's too much padding here.
Worse, it resorts to using animated sequences to illustrate some of the songs, an approach completely at odds with the seriousness of the subject matter. As far as the interviewees are concerned, these fall into two categories, the admiring but critical (Merle Haggard in particular) and the fawning and largely uncritical (almost everyone else, including his band and family), which only gets worse when they extend their comments to eulogise Cash's wife, June.
Some intelligent use is made of historical, typically no bullshit voice-overs by the man himself and there's no question the music and his performance are great, but I think on the whole, this documentary doesn't serve its subject over-well and would instead recommend the "San Quentin" documentary, a snippet of which is enticingly included here, to admirers.
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