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Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music
Johnny Cash The Man His World His Music
Actor: Johnny Cash
Director: Robert Elfstrom
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Documentary
NR     2005     1hr 20min

Johnny Cash needs little introduction. He was one of the true legends of Country Music from his days in the mid-50s when he was recording for Memphis Sun Records through his classic 60s recordings for Columbia Records ont...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Johnny Cash
Director: Robert Elfstrom
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Country, Pop, Cash, Johnny, Educational, Documentary
Studio: Sanctuary Records
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 03/08/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Simply the best Johnny Cash DVD available
Mark Janovec | Hudson, WI United States | 12/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Let me start off this review by stating that this is a fairly low budget, almost amateurish production. The sound and the pictures leave a lot to be desired...and in comparison to today's slickly produced documentaries, this effort would be laughably dismissed by most people. Most of the footage is shot with a single handheld camera, often in poorly lit rooms. Also, the film negative appears to have been stored in someone's garage for about three decades, resulting in a scratched-up film. Plus, the DVD is low on extras.

So why the five star rating? Because no other film is available that documents Johnny Cash as well as this one does. Taken as a snapshot of Cash during 1969, it show him at the very pinnacle of his popularity and creative powers. The filmmaker follows Cash in several importants aspects of his life and career, so we see glimpses of Cash onstage, backstage, on the road, at home, and in the studio. One gets the feeling this is part documentary, part home movie. There is no narration, just the natural sound captured by the filmmakers. But there is such an honesty to the footage, that you get the feeling Cash is hardly aware of the camera. We truly get to be that "fly on the wall" and see a legend in our midst.

Highlights include:

1. Cash in the studio with Bob Dylan...I was amazed that film of these sessions existed at all...and am surprized this footage doesn't get more airings. You hear them record a song that never got officially released, making this footage all the more interesting.

2. Cash performs for an audience of Native Americans, then makes a visit to the battleground at Wounded Knee...being inspired enough to compose a song about Bigfoot.

3. Cash performs to a prison audience. This appears to have taken plan before the San Quentin show, but (obviously) after the Folson show. As such, this is probably the only place to see or hear this performance.

4. We see Cash with his family (including a young Rosanne in the background). His parents are present and Johnny convinces his Dad to sing a tune he learned during World War I. Note that the real Ray Cash doesn't come off as the cold hearted man portrayed in the Walk the Line film.)

5. Cash also returns to his hometown and we see him visiting old friends and relatives. His visit to his hometown culminates in a visit to his childhood home, now abandoned. Cash fans will recognize several bits of this footage as being used later on for the music video to "Hurt," released in 2002.

After about 5 minutes, you forgive the film for its technical flaws and are taken up into the world of Johnny Cash. No other film out there does this much justice in documenting the most important year of Cash's career. For that reason alone, this is a priceless DVD. Any Johnny Cash fan will be happy to have this in their collection. And while there are many Cash DVDs out there to choose from, this is clearly the best of them all.

P.S. - Another reviewer correctly stated that a longer version of this film does exist. The Sanctuary version from 2005 is 70 minutes long. However, the Cherry Red DVD released in 2000 (and again in 2003 in the UK) is the full 90 minutes long. Extra scenes in the 90 minute version include: 1) Johnny Cash out hunting, wounding a crow (then singing to it, as he takes it to be mended), 2) Two backstage scenes with aspiring songwriters pitching songs to Cash, hoping to make it big, and 3) Longer scenes with the Carter Family (and June's somewhat ribald introduction of their prison concert). While most of the best scenes are on the 70 minutes version, it is still worth tracking down the 90 minute version if you can. Amazon UK has the 90 minute version available (look for the yellowish cover with a photo of Cash singing into a microphone)...and since it's encoded as Region "0," it should play on all American DVD players. It plays just fine on mine..."
Kevin R. Roar | Alliance,Oh | 03/11/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"When i heard that this was gonna be reissued on Dvd i was pretty excited,I Purchased this on Vhs back in 1992 when i found it in a bargain bin and it was one of the best music video purchases that i've ever made so that made the Dvd issue much anticipated.The Dvd purchase left me dissipointed,the Vhs running time was 90+ minutes, The Dvd running time on this is only 70 minutes, over 20 minutes of the original video are not included even the footage with Johnny Cash singing to a crow in the woods are not included along with a few other segments. The picture & sound quality are A+++ Just the fact that some of the original footage is not included is a dissipointment,The running time on the dvd was nowhere to be seen,For the diehard fan stick to the original,if you are a fan and have never seen this then i recomend it."
An Intimate Look at a Music Legend!
Kenneth M. Gelwasser | Hollywood, Fl USA | 04/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I admit it I'm a newbie. A bandwagon jumper. I only got into Johnny Cash's music after seeing the biographical major motion picture, "Walk the Line". But since then I've been collecting his music like crazy. I have been especially enamored with the 'Man in Black's' live recordings ("Folsom Prison", "San Quentin". "Madison Square Garden"). In those live recordings he comes across as so genuine, plain spoken & honest. He really seems to put himself out there. Was it for real or was it just a persona done for the stage? Well after viewing the Robert Elfstrom documentary, "Johnny Cash The Man, His World, His Music", I can only only come to the conclusion, that Johnny Cash was as real as it gets. The film is done in a Cinema Verite' style. We are like a 'fly on the wall' as we see the life of Johnny Cash, circa 1969. During the course of the film we see him at home with his family, in the recording studio, traveling on tour in his bus and most importantly performing live on stage. Cash expounds about the things that are important to him including his music, family and his faith. The film looks at his roots, when the singer takes a trip to Dyess, Arkanasas where he grew up. He comes to town, but there are no 'star trips'. Cash acts like just a hometown boy come to meet some old friends. He gives an impression that he was person comfortable in his own skin. This seems to translate on stage as we view various 1969 concert performances, and hear many of his hits including "Ring of Fire" (with Miriachi horns!), "Folsom Prison Blues", "Daddy Sings Bass", "Big River", ETC. One of my favorite concert moments is during the religious spiritual, "(Were You There) When They Crucified My Lord". During the course of the song, there is break, where the female back-up singers (the Carter Family??), sing the chorus off camera. There is a close up of Johnny Cash's face as he turns to them. The sweat is pouring down his cheeks and he just has a look of such intensity on his face. It's an amazing scene! You just know he really believes in this song and its' message. Other great moments include rare studio footage of Cash dueting with folkie/rocker, Bob Dylan on "One Too Many Mornings". It didn't seem to matter to these two, that they came from opposite ends of the cultural spectrum. I think they both recognized, they shared a common spirit and had a deep respect for each others' talent and love of music. When they get together it's pure magic! Finally mention must be made of the footage of a concert at a local prison. There is something about Johnny Cash performing behind prison walls, that just makes his music come so alive. Maby he viewed the imates as underdogs and identified with that. In the footage we see him perform "Walls of a Prison", "Big River", "Long Back Veil" and a simply estactic, high energy duet of "Jackson" with his wife, June Carter Cash. I loved the film but if I had but one complaint, it would be with the condition of the sound & picture. This film is over thirty years old and the condition it's in makes that fact evident.The film is both grainy & scratchy. Maby this adds to the Cinema Verite' feeling? Couldn't they had at least done some color correction in the concert footage or remastered the sound for the DVD? While I might have issues with this, the footage is really priceless and will delight both Johnny Cash fans and fans of good music alike. You really get an intimate view of a music legend, who was at the peak of his talents. Highly recommended!"
The best no-holds-barred video out there on Cash
Kevin M. Schoening | Royal Oak, Michigan | 04/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you like Cash like I do, this is bar-none the best DVD to add to your collection.

You feel like you're riding along with him & the band.

There is no narration, and there didn't need to be.

I can't stress how good this DVD is to add to your collection. It's as if you were riding along with Cash back in his heyday, no commercialism, no fancy packaging, just raw footage of him & what he was doing at the time.

In later years I've seen a lot of the footage from this DVD on other shows, and even in the coveted "Hurt" video.

It's just a really great piece of archival-type DVD footage that actually tells a story. It's a must have for any Cash fan."