The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash DVD (2019 Documentary) Featuring Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen


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Description: Johnny Cash stands among the giants of 20th century American life. But his story remains tangled in mystery and myth. This documentary, created with the full cooperation of the Cash estate and rich in recently discovered archival materials, brings Cash the man out from behind the legend. Taking the remarkable Folsom Prison recording as a central motif and featuring interviews with family and celebrated collaborators, the film explores the artistic victories, the personal tragedies, the struggles with addiction, and the spiritual pursuits that colored Johnny Cash’s life.

The familiar licks are anything depicting Cash’s progress from cradle to grave, including his marriages, children, drug problems, spirituality and affinity for the dispossessed; Zimny handles the material deftly and the film has a knack for knowing when to move along to the next phrase of Cash’s life or art. But it’s still difficult to imagine a Cash aficionado who’s watched a few films on this topic (or broader treatments of American entertainment that treat Cash as one character among many, like Ken Burns’ recent “Country Music”) finding much here that’s new, either in terms of the information or the arrangement of archival footage (such as newsreel and TV footage, family photographs and mementoes.

As in “The Searcher,” Director Thom Zimny’ restricts Cash friends, family members, collaborators and scholars to audio-only interviews. This denies us the chance to see the faces of interviewees, including Springsteen, poet Robert Muldoon, Robert Duvall (who has great insight into Cash’s relationship with Christianity and sin), producer Rick Rubin, and Cash’s brilliant daughter and musical heir Rosanne Cash. But it creates richer possibilities for editing. The film is at its best when Zimny, his editors Chris Iverson and Brian Miele, and his cinematographers Charles Libin and Nicola Marsh seize these opportunities and squeeze them till the nectar runs out. These sequences in the movie fuse archival images with highly stylized and even surreal invented images that don’t so much re-create important moments in Cash’s life as try to poetically sum them up. The results are often glorious

Cast: Robert Duvall, Dwight Yoakam, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, June Carter Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, John Carter Cash, Rosanne Cash, Kathy Cash, Carlene Carter and Rodney Crowell

Total Running Time: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

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Weight.25 lbs


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