18 user 33 critic

My Father and the Man in Black (2012)

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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.



2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





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

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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


A non-fiction 'Walk The Line" See more »



Official Sites:




Release Date:

6 September 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Isäni ja Johnny Cash  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In addition to live action, stock footage, animation, composites, and TV and film clips, the film features more than 400 photographs--many of which appear to move ("motion graphics"). Many people assume the shots of Cash's arrest in 1965 is found footage but instead was created from a series of sequential photos. See more »


Saul Holiff: [On sagging record sales] Johnny, last week we discussed Bob Johnston and Don Law. I have given the situation a lot of thought. I urge you to immediately go with Johnston. No one is perfect, and sometimes you have shown poor judgement. Bob Johnston is creative enough to present exciting ideas. The time is ripe for a change and it should be NOW. I think Johnston can bring you to the next plateau.
[Original Source: Letter from Saul Holiff to Johnny Cash; December 29, 1966]
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

In Search of the Father
16 June 2012 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Just saw the premiere of this movie at the NXNE Music/Film festival in Toronto last night. This is a very personal tale for the producer, trying to recreate the life and experiences of his late father, the manager of Johnny Cash. I think many of us who grew up in Canada during the 50's and 60's had fathers who were reclusive and uncommunicative. At the time it is easy to criticize and make judgement calls. In the case of Jonathan Holiff, he is stunned to realize that his father has left a storage locker of material summarizing his management career with Johnny Cash. When he listens to the numerous tape recordings that his father has made as a running dialogue, he begins to realize the accomplishments that his father made along with the nightmare reality of managing a supremely talented but incredibly self destructive artist such as Johnny Cash. The movie is made in quite an original way, with actual video footage, photographs and real recordings. I think the important point in the movie is when Cash crosses the line and really insults Saul Holiff. He immediately resigns. This is the important lesson we learn from our fathers. Some things are not negotiable in life, like your honour.

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