This documentary combines archival footage and interviews to examine the life of one of music's most universal legends, Johnny Cash. The film recounts the events of Cash's life, from his poor beginnings to his celebrity and his battle with drugs. It also delves into how Cash addressed the issues of his day and evolved to be both a patriot and a social activist. Many famous fans of Cash, including... See full summary »
John Carter Cash
A celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew", a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby.
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
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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