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not quite woody's story
11 October 2006
This is a stupefying film. Wexler's camera work brings the correct light and intensity, Carradine's performance is solid, the sense of America at it's worst is there. However, this is hardly an accurate depiction of the life of Woody Guthrie. If you want to know about Woody watch the American Masters film or, better still read Joe Klein's amazing biography. The film lover in me recognized this as a well-made piece, but the woody fan in me was disappointed. Why did they, for example, speed up such perfect songs as pastures of plenty? Why does carradine's voice crack in all the places woody's did not? And how come they could use the name woody guthrie but not lefty lou and cisco houston?

Still it is a film worth seeing. Pete Seeger and the Almanac Singers version of so long and reuben james is great as the credits roll. I would encourage teachers to show this to students studying the depression or labor history, but for students of Woody, there is much lacking.
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