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My Father and the Man in Black (2012)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 207 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 17 user | 31 critic | 13 from Metacritic.com

The untold story of 'bad-boy' Johnny Cash, his talented but troubled manager, Saul Holiff, and a son searching for his father in the shadow of a legend.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Saul Holiff ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Jonathan Holiff ...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Herself (archive footage)
Harvey Glatt ...
Himself
Gary Holiff ...
Saul Holiff at 50
David Disher ...
Joshua Robinson ...
Saul Holiff at 40
Dan Champagne ...
Norman Singer ...
Saul Holiff at 75
Elli Hollands ...
Alino Giraldi ...
Saul Holiff at 20
Robert Skanes ...
Trevor Juras ...
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Storyline

After the suicide of Johnny Cash's former manager, Saul Holiff, his estranged son, Jonathon, returns home. There, Jonathon learns from his mother that his father's personal records exist in storage. As Jonathon searches through them, he discovers much about his father's life of deferred dreams in London, Ontario until he became the manager of Johnny Cash. From there, Jonathon learns of his father's hectic life managing the erratic country star with his personal demons and moods and how the material success came with a profound cost of its own for Saul. In doing so, Jonathon gets a new perspective of a father who had his problems that he never fully conquered himself. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Before there was Johnny and June, there was Johnny and Saul See more »


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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 September 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Isäni ja Johnny Cash  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

NOMINATED for "Best Documentary" and "Best Director" at the 2013 Lewiston Auburn Film Festival (USA) See more »

Quotes

Johnny Cash: [On recording "Ira Hayes"] I am more full of piss and vinegar than ever. When I reach the top, I'll build another peak to climb.
[Original Source: Letter to Saul Holiff, May 23, 1964]
Johnny Cash: [On "Ira Hayes" failure to penetrate the Pop Charts] Classify me, categorize me - STIFLE me, but it won't work. This is NOT a country song."
[Original Source: TBD magazine ad]
Editor, "Close-Up": Mr. Cash, I am disgusted with you. You think that people who listen to Country are not intelligent. I am sorry that it was good Country and ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, where a major distributor is normally listed, the filmmaker inserted the words "Intentionally Left Blank." This was an inside joke. Adverse market conditions offset by a large following for the film made self-releasing a more attractive option. Later, when the film was given final certification for tax credit purposes, the Canadian government required the filmmaker to sign an affidavit swearing that no such company "Intentionally Left Blank" had been connected with the film. See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Father Son Conundrum as sung by Johnny Cash
8 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jonathan Holiff has courage. He has created a story about his own sense of isolation and loneliness and disregard by his father and unlike so many men who have had the same submerged life of regret, Jonathan Holiff has worked through his - through soul searching, agonizing recollections, the death of a father that was so distant, and through research that unearthed years of recorded tapes made by his father that explain many of the problems Jonathan never understood.

Jonathan Holiff's father, Saul Holiff, was Johnny Cash's personal manager from 1960 to 1973. This film is the untold story of 'bad-boy' Johnny Cash, his talented but troubled manager, Saul Holiff, and a son searching for his father in the shadow of a legend. But what the film delivers in a sophisticated approach to a documentary (mixing many clips of historic clips and conversations on tapes with live actors standing in for the featured characters of this tale) is another look at just who Johnny Cash really was - from a mediocre country singer to a drug addict and alcoholic to a wreck of a human being who failed to show up for concerts, to his gradual comeback via his unique recordings from prisons and then to his fall again as he became a radical fundamentalist born again Christian, through two marriages and a divorce, his fame with June Carter Cash and his eventual death from complications of diabetes in 2003. Tat is not the Cash the public knows and the fact that he sustained the glow of fame is in large part due to the tireless efforts of Saul Holiff, himself an alcoholic and tormented man.

But at what costs? This film allows us to connect most closely with Jonathan Holiff as he comes to grips with the man who as his father was carrying on the tradition of emotional frigidity with his son. The young Holiff knows just how far to push the buttons and when to back off, and the end result is a very powerful film on so very many levels.

Grady Harp


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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