IMDb > Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune (2010)
Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune
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Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune (2010) More at IMDbPro »

Videos (see all 2)
Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune -- From civil rights to the anti-war movement to the scandals of Watergate, protest singer Phil Ochs wrote songs that engaged his audiences in the issues of the 1960s and 70s. In this biographical documentary, veteran director Kenneth Bowser shows how Phil's fascinating life story and music were intertwined with the history-making events that defined a generation.
Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune -- First 3 minutes of the film.

Overview

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Release Date:
5 January 2011 (USA) See more »
Plot:
From civil rights to the anti-war movement to the struggles of workers, folksinger Phil Ochs wrote topical... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
a review of the film, not the person or music See more (11 total) »

Cast

 

Joan Baez ... Herself
Jello Biafra ... Himself

Billy Bragg ... Himself
François De Menil ... Himself
Deni Frand ... Herself

Arthur Gorson ... Himself
Tom Hayden ... Himself

Judy Henske ... Herself - Interviewee

Christopher Hitchens ... Himself
Abbie Hoffman ... Himself (archive footage)
Jac Holzman ... Himself - Record Executive
Paul Krassner ... Himself
Larry Marks ... Himself
Lincoln Mayorga ... Himself
Jerry Moss ... Himself
Jack Newfield ... Himself (archive footage)
Alice Ochs ... Herself
Meegan Lee Ochs ... Herself (as Meegan Ochs)

Michael Ochs ... Himself - Brother
Phil Ochs ... Himself (archive footage)

Van Dyke Parks ... Himself

Sean Penn ... Himself - Interviewee
Jerry Rubin ... Himself (archive footage)
Ed Sanders ... Himself

Pete Seeger ... Himself
Larry 'Ratso' Sloman ... Himself
Lucian Truscott IV ... Himself
Dave Van Ronk ... Himself (archive footage)

Peter Yarrow ... Himself

Directed by
Kenneth Bowser 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Kenneth Bowser 

Produced by
Elliot Abbott .... executive producer
Kenneth Bowser .... producer
Sean Campbell .... post producer
Michael Cohl .... producer
Michael Farrell .... co-producer
Zev Greenfield .... associate producer
Brian MacDonald .... assistant producer
Riva Marker .... associate producer
Brian McDonald .... co-producer
Lizzy McGlynn .... co-producer
Michael Ochs .... producer
Sage Scully .... co-producer
Katie N. Young .... associate producer (as Katie Ehrman)
 
Cinematography by
Jarred Alterman 
Jefferson Miller 
 
Film Editing by
Pamela Scott Arnold 
 
Art Department
Scott Kawczynski .... art director: graphics
Scott Kawczynski .... titles art direction and design
 
Sound Department
Paul Rusnak .... sound
Bob Schuck .... sound
Jose Smith .... sound
Tami Stepanek .... sound
Donny Tam .... sound
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Vinny Aliberto .... additional camera
Jarred Alterman .... camera operator
Nick August-Perna .... camera operator
Emily Bonilla .... additional camera
Jacob Cohl .... camera operator
Zach Driscoll .... additional camera (as Zack Driscoll)
Zev Greenfield .... camera operator
Robert Humphreys .... camera operator
Tom Kaufman .... camera operator
Jefferson Miller .... camera operator
Petr Stepanek .... additional camera
 
Editorial Department
John Dowdell .... digital intermediate colorist
Will Fleisher .... assistant editor
Jesse Gordon .... on-line editor
Katie Hinsen .... digital intermediate editor
Randy Little .... colorist
Stephen Vittoria .... editor: Theatrical Trailer
Ian B. Wile .... additional editor
 
Other crew
Erek Barsczewski .... researcher
Jessica Berman Bogdan .... researcher
Richard Sullivan .... researcher
 

Distributors

Additional Details

Runtime:
96 min
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Language:
Color:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The footage of Phil Ochs singing on TV with John Byner is from the musical series Byner hosted called "Something Else" (1970).See more »
Soundtrack:
Tape from CaliforniaSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
a review of the film, not the person or music, 3 February 2013
Author: zee from United States

The other reviewers seem to be reviewing Och's music or the 60's protest movement itself. I'm going to review the film, which was only so-so.

I'm a great fan of documentary films, but this one was not exceptional. The inclusion of so much archival footage was interesting and the movement was fairly accurately portrayed. But as a biography, it felt incomplete to me and could have used the inclusion of opinions not just by his contemporaries, but professionals who could have offered insight into his psychiatric problems. Indeed, every time the film got close to looking at any issue in depth, it skittered away to some other topic, so I was left frustrated. In the end, I felt I'd watched just another"lite" celebrity biography like the ones I saw on A & E during the two years I owned a TV. A great biographical film leaves me with insight into not only the subject but a deeper understanding into the human heart.

Examples of missed opportunities: at one point in an old interview, Ochs says he's exploring contrapunctal music. Here, you could have inserted a music theory prof pointing out in what song that manifested. Or, examine what was it like to be "just a folkie" but have aspirations to write more complex music. There really is no information about his song-writing except he liked to do it.

This failing of the film extends to the personal. There's one sour, wry woman from his past who seems the only one willing to be critical of Ochs's whoring, narcissism, etc., but despite having interesting things to say, it's hard to credit her insights for she comes off as just bitter. Why not find some psychologist willing to talk about narcissistic personalities, coupled with the manic depression and alcoholism, so that we can see how Ochs deteriorated so badly? (and that was new information for me--he had severe psychotic breaks at the end of his life) Or surely some psychologist has written/researched about how, when the Vietnam War ended and Nixon had resigned, there was widespread depression among protest cats because they felt superfluous--interview that person rather than only Joan Baez who mentions it but not in a greatly illuminating way.

Instead, they relied mostly on family members and close friends, who had to a large extent mythologized him, the way we all do over the years, creating narratives that match our internalized metanarratives rather than remembering accurately. For instance, they skimmed over Ochs's frequenting of whorehouses worldwide, and while it's good they included such ugly behavior and didn't try to paint him as holy and purely wonderful, the interviews with the ex-wife (still-wife? the movie doesn't tell us how or if the marriage ended) had stopped by that point in the film--gee, I'd like to have known what she felt when she figured out he was doing this (just a list of STDs he brought home would have been illuminating). I also wondered if he had been autopsied and there was brain damage from syphilis also adding to his severe mental deterioration at the end of his life. So much good info to mine, but the film skitters along the surface.

Perhaps the reason for that is that they were trying to fit it into a time limit, and if so, were willing to sacrifice clarity or better art for commercial considerations...but if so, perhaps cutting out a few of the old protest march performances would have allowed for more depth.

All the interviews were talking heads indoors; the film would have been more visually interesting had they varied this.

The end song over the credits was a great choice. Van Ronk's performance raised goosebumps for me.

Some good, some bad, but for me not a satisfying whole.

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