HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
McQueen
Ugly Duckling, The
Apostle
Distant Voices, Still Lives
Hereditary
Cup Fever
Peril for the Guy
3 Days in Quiberon
Club, The
Best F(r)iends: Volume 1
Pili
Suspect, The
Baxter!
Dead Night
Thoroughbreds
Ghost and the Darkness, The
Strike Commando
Molly
Full Alert
Up the Academy
Darling Lili
Tehran Taboo
Follow That Bird
I, Olga Hepnarová
Finders Keepers
Breadwinner, The
All About Steve
Bad Samaritan
Dangerous When Wet
Us and Them
   
 
Newest Articles
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
   
 
  Bound for Glory The Good Old Bad Old DaysBuy this film here.
Year: 1976
Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: David Carradine, Ronny Cox, Melinda Dillon, Gail Strickland, John Lehne, Ji-Tu Cumbuka, Randy Quaid, Elizabeth Macey, David Clennon, Wendy Schaal, Mary Kay Place, Clifford A. Pellow, M. Emmet Walsh, Brion James, James Hong, Robert Ginty, Tony Becker
Genre: Biopic
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sign painter Woody Guthrie (David Carradine) was having difficulties in the Texas of 1936 with the Dust Bowl ruining families, forcing people to go hungry and leaving many without jobs. Still, he always had his music and he would enjoy playing in a local band for the folk of his town, although when one day an oil man looking for fortune tellers passed by, he offered Woody the reputation of having otherworldly powers, which led him to be coaxed into performing healing on an unfortunate woman (it worked, oddly enough). But while he may have been down to earth, Woody also had a dream of a better life...

An American Dream, you might say. Bound for Glory was drawn from country legend Guthrie's own memoirs and was blessed with a perfectly understated and intelligent performance from Carradine as its lead. He sang and played the songs himself with genuine skill, but for the first half of the film he is not given much opportunity to do so as Robert Getchell's script concentrated heavily on the singer's slow climb up the ladder of fame which included leaving his family behind in their Texas hovel while he went off to, well, you could say he was looking to provide for them, but on the other hand it might appear he was getting shot of them.

Incidents such as that indicate this was no rosy biopic that looked back on the Depression with nostalgic eyes, but there's a weight of evidence against that view in Hal Ashby's soft-focus reflection on times past. While admitting those times were hard for most people, the film seems to be saying, it was these hardships that brought a talent like Guthrie to the fore so if it wasn't exactly a good thing, then riding on top of a boxcar with you harmonica for company like a man liberated of all constraints was nevertheless a fine way to live. Yes, Woody has trouble finding something to eat, and at one point nearly kills himself avoiding violent railway guards, but he's in the land of the free!

If you buy that then perhaps you won't mind that a supposedly socialist message about better working conditions for struggling workers is almost entirely eclipsed by a conventional showbiz tale of rags to riches, yes, that American Dream is returned to with a vengeance. And yet it's not an utter dead loss when turning to leftist concerns, mainly because Ashby is keen to sketch in the lives of the little guy and the small scenes of characters who pass by Woody are among the film's strongest aspects. Brion James as a father turning back at the borders of California, but getting the money in Woody's pocket as compensation is an example of the generosity that the protagonist is capable of.

Other nice scenes see Woody insulting a rich caravaning couple in his own kidding manner and considering the worth of artichokes, but in the broader strokes, where we see him promoting the unions, smack unmistakably of the over-earnest. Guthrie has the clichéd record executives and radio producers to rebel against when they don't like those fruit-pickers songs he wants to sing, which of course he does anyway, and the strongarm tactics used by the bosses of the farms are not something he is going to back down against, so he still has his hero credentials. But Haskell Wexler's photography, among other things, simply makes everything too "glossy prestige production" rather than down and dirty with the miserable conditions that Guthrie began to rise above before finding a way of life he was more comfortable with. The excellent Carradine suggests a better film could have been made here, and he's the main reason to see this.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2457 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Hal Ashby  (1929 - 1988)

Cult American director who started out as an editor, notably on such works as The Loved One, In the Heat of the Night (for which he won an Oscar) and The Thomas Crown Affair. Thanks to his friendship with Norman Jewison he was able to direct his first film, The Landlord, and the seventies represented the golden years of his career with his sympathetic but slightly empty dramas striking a chord with audiences. His films from this period were Harold and Maude, The Last Detail, Shampoo, Bound for Glory, Coming Home and Being There. But come the eighties, Ashby's eccentricities and drug dependency sabotaged his career, and he ended it directing a forgotten TV movie before his untimely death from cancer.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
   

 

Last Updated: