Tag Archives: Film

Documentary: Johnny Cash – The Last Great American

johnnycash

This a very fine documentary profiling the life of Johnny Cash. There are quite a few films about Cash, this is one of the very best.

It is a  major retrospective of Cash’s life, times and music. It features contributions from Rosanne Cash(daughter) and John Carter Cash (son), his longtime manager Lou Robin and many musicians including Little Richard, Cowboy Jack Clement, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Elvis Costello.

Johnny Cash was the son of a sharecropper from Arkansas, who sang folk, gospel and country songs to himself while picking cotton in the fields. In the 50s he signed to Sam Phillips’ Sun Records, the rest is great music history.

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This is the centre-piece of an extensive Johnny Cash Night on BBC Four. A major retrospective of Cash’s life, times and music, it includes contributions from his daughter, Rosanne Cash, and son, John Carter Cash; his long-time manager, Lou Robin; and fellow musicians, including Little Richard, Cowboy Jack Clement, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Elvis Costello.

Cash was the son of a sharecropper from Kingsland, Arkansas, who sang folk, spiritual and country songs to himself while picking cotton in the fields. In the Fifties he signed to Sam Phillips’s Sun Records, scored his first hits and was part of the “Million Dollar Quartet” with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

In the Sixties he created his famous Man In Black persona and became a huge country music star with hits such as Folsom Prison Blues, Ring Of Fire, I Walk The Line and A Boy Named Sue. At that time he was also torn between drug dependency, hell-raising and a powerful spirituality. Cash had long since established himself as a man of the people with his prison concerts, beginning with an incendiary performance in San Quentin.

He ended the decade by finally marrying June Carter, daughter of the legendary Carter family, launching his own national TV series from Nashville, duetting with Bob Dylan, befriending the Native American movement and opposing the war in Vietnam while playing concerts for the soldiers in the field.

Although plagued by ill-health, Cash reignited his career with a new, young audience in the Nineties, when he began to record with Def Jam’s producer, Rick Rubin.

Cash won numerous Grammys and other awards for his last studio album, 2003’s The Man Comes Around, and the extraordinary video for the Nine Inch Nails song, Hurt, which revealed Cash as a white-haired old man contemplating his mortality.

Cash died in September 2003 shortly after the retrospective Unearthed, a five CD-set of the acoustic performances with which he resurrected his career in the last decade of his life, and after losing his wife in June 2003.
– docuwiki.net

– Hallgeir

Today: Masked and Anonymous was released 10 years ago

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“When I made the Bob Dylan movie, I wanted to make a Bob Dylan movie that was like a Bob Dylan song. One with a lot of layers, that had a lot of poetry, that had a lot of surrealism and was ambiguous and hard to figure out, like a puzzle.”

– Larry Charles

Masked and Anonymous is a 2003 comedy-drama film directed by Larry Charles, who is better known for his writing on successful TV sitcoms, Seinfeld and Mad About You and for executive producing episodes of The Tick and Dilbert. The film was written by Larry Charles and Bob Dylan, the latter under the pseudonym “Sergei Petrov”. It stars iconic rock legend Bob Dylan alongside a star-heavy cast, including John Goodman, Jeff Bridges, Penélope Cruz, Val Kilmer, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Lange,Luke Wilson, Angela Bassett, Bruce Dern, Cheech Marin, Ed Harris, Chris Penn, Steven Bauer, Giovanni Ribisi, and Michael Paul Chan.

The film received mixed reviews from critics.

Trailer:

It is such an underrated movie! …and with some fantastical musical numbers of course.

Bob Dylan – Drifters Escape:

Bob Dylan – Cold Irons Bound:

Bob Dylan – I Remember You:

Bob Dylan – Standing in the doorway (audio):

Bob Dylan – Diamond Joe:

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Seek it out, check it out, it’s a good experience!

– Hallgeir

Video of the day: Satan – Stephen Ackles

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Stephen Ackles (15 february 1966), a son of Norwegian mother (Bergliot Kittilsen) and American father (Allan Dale Ackles), he is a singer, pianist and songwriter. He is mainly a rock’n roll/boogie artist and his main inspirations are Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. 

He recently did a version of the song Satan on Norwegian television, it blew my mind. Ackles have always been a good craftsman but his choice of material has been , eeh… questionable. He has lived a hard live, gone bankrupt and found Jesus, he has toured a lot! Ackles has released thirteen  albums and has worked with giants such as Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, and Jerry Lee Lewis. His fourteenth album will be released as I write this, and will of course include his interpretation of Satan.

And finally the song he was born to sing came along. Satan. Stephen Ackles tears his soul out, the agony and pain of a hard life is personified in this great performance. His face twists as he spits out his rage and sorrow.

Satan (aka Killing For Satan) is a relatively obscure song by Paul Wibier. From the 1969 film Satan’s Sadists.

Paul Wibier’ original – Satan (Audio):

WIBIER

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A fantastic trailer for the very entertaining biker movie, Satan’s Sadists:

Director Al Adamson’s Satan’s Sadists is the jewel in the trashploitation king’s crown, mixing hippie hopheads, choppers, whacked-out violence, LSD trips and groovy music. Russ Tamblyn sheds his “boy next door” screen image as the kill-crazy gang leader Anchor, supported by one of drive-in cinema’s all-time great casts: John “Bud” Cardos (with Mohawk), Robert Dix (with eye patch), Greydon Clark and Regina Carrol (the future Mrs. Adamson) as “The Freak-Out Girl.” Buckle up and brace yourself for “probably the grossest biker movie of them all.” (The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film)

– Hallgeir

Sources: NRK, Wikipedia, Psychotronic Encyclopedia  of Film by Michael Weldon, stephenackles.com

Today: Bob Dylan’s film Renaldo And Clara was released in 1978

Renaldo and Clara

This nearly four-hour surrealist odyssey (232 m.)  is written, directed and starring Bob Dylan himself.

Directed by Bob Dylan
Produced by Mel Howard
Written by Bob Dylan, Sam Shepard
Starring Bob Dylan, Sara Dylan, Joan Baez
Music by Various artists
Cinematography Howard Alk, David Meyers, Paul Goldsmith
Editing by Bob Dylan, Howard Alk
Distributed by Circuit Films
Release date(s) January 25, 1978
Running time 232 minutes
Country United States
Language English

There is a myth about this film, it is considered to be incoherent and confusing, well, it isn’t. Everytime I see it, it strikes me as a unified vision, one man’s vision, where he puts different kind of film stocks and styles together to create an entertaining and, yes, demanding movie.  The film is a mixture of fantastic concert footage, documentary style film (dealing with the Hurricane Carter case), and ficitonal, seemingly improvised  footage.

Never let me go:

Drawing structural and thematic influences from the classic  film Les Enfants du Paradis, Dylan infuses Renaldo & Clara with lots of shifting styles, tones, and narrative ideas. Similarities between the two films include the use of whiteface , the recurring flower, the woman in white (Baez), the on-stage and backstage scenes, and the dialogue of both films’ climactic scenes.

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Also evident is the Cubist approach of the two films, allowing us to see the main characters from the different perspectives of various lovers. This also echoes some of the songs from this Dylan period (Simple twist of faith and Tangled up in blue coming to mind). Running time is also relatively similar.

It’s a free associating epic that feels pulled straight from Bob Dylan’s brain, Renaldo and Clara is a work of misunderstood genius.

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