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My Father and The Man In Black: Growing up with Johnny Cash (2012)

Johnny Cash , Saul Holiff , Jonathan Holiff  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Johnny Cash, Saul Holiff, June Carter Cash
  • Directors: Jonathan Holiff
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Passion River
  • DVD Release Date: October 1, 2013
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00E0P8ZLC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,655 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "My Father and The Man In Black: Growing up with Johnny Cash" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews


"You thought you knew Johnny Cash. Think again!" --The Wall Street Journal

"Uniquely intertwined dual portrait." --Variety

"A fresh angle on the Cash mythology--a long way from Walk The Line." --Steve Rose, The Guardian

"The film is too damn interesting to be maudlin."

"Complex and haunting" --The New York Times

"An illuminating alternate history to "Walk the Line." --The Los Angeles Times

"Heart and feeling is soaked through it like the sweat in Cash's guitar strap." --Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice

"A privileged perspective on crucial moments in Johnny Cash's career" --The Hollywood Reporter

Product Description

Before there was Johnny and June, there was Johnny and Saul.

Following his father's suicide, director Jonathan Holiff discovers hundreds of letters and audio diaries, including recorded phone calls with Johnny Cash during his pill-fueled 1960s, triumphs at Folsom and San Quentin, marriage to June Carter, and his conversion in the early 1970s to born-again Christian.

An intense personal adventure that happens to feature one of 20th-century music's greatest icons, My Father and The Man in Black tells the inside story of "bad boy" Johnny Cash, his talented but troubled manager, Saul Holiff, and a son searching for his father in the shadow of a legend.

Collector's Edition Special Features:
- 20 Minutes of Bonus Material
- Close Captioned
- Subtitles: French and Spanish

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Johnny and June and Saul August 28, 2013
"My Father and the man in Black" (2012 release; 88 min.) is a documentary written, produced and directed by Jonathan Holiff, the son of Saul Holiff. Saul was the manager of Johnny Cash for about 15 years (late 50s to early 70s).

As the documentary opens, we see a re-enactment of Saul's suicide in 2005, and Jonathan's subsequent obvious struggle with the passing of his dad, whom he barely had spoken to in the last 20 years apparently. As it happens, Saul left a true treasure trove of memorabilia from his entire career, including of course the golden years with Johnny Cash. Through the use of pictures, archive footage, and tons of reel tape with Saul's thoughts on everything (as well as taped telephone conversations--I wonder if the person on the other side of the line knew about that), Jonathan is able to paint a vivid picture of his dad's humble beginnings in Hollywood, only to eventually make it into "the business" as Johnny Cash's promotor and manager. The highlight of Saul's career is probably when he suggests June Carter as an additional act to Johnny's touring circus. The rest, as they say, is the stuff of legends.

Couple of comments: as mentioned already, there are a number of re-enactments in the movie, basicaly to provide an image to the multitudes of reel tape being used. I must say that the re-enactments didn't bother me at all. Second, the documentary of course focuses on Johnny Cash (for obvious commercial reasons), but the TRUE story of this documentary is how Jonathan is trying to find closure in the relationship with his dad. Why was his dad so angry and mean with Jonathan? Why did his dad commit suicide? All this eventually is answered in this documentary.

Bottom line: I was pleasantly surprised how well this documentary played out.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Look at Johnny Cash and His Manager Saul Holiff September 11, 2013
As the title indicates, Jonathan Holiff has produced what is a very fine documentary of his father Saul Holiff, long time manager of Johnny Cash, and his often rocky relationship with the country singer. It is doubtful that either of these men would have accomplished what they did without the other. After his father's suicide on March 17, 2005, Mr. Holiff discovered a treasure trove of information including tapes and other records that his father had preserved in a locked storage space. He has done a terrific job in putting together this documentary using the information he gleaned from that discovery as well still photographs, old live footage of both Cash and the elder Holiff, tapes of these men's voices, re-enactments and music.

The result speaks for itself. The CD is both informative and objective. Mr. Holiff holds up a mirror to Cash, his wife June Carter and Holiff and makes no attempt to present anything but the unvarnished facts about what happened: the time from 1958 when Holiff and Cash met, through their long business relationship, Cash's performances in San Quentin, the Johnny Cash television show in the 1970`s, Cash's trip to Israel, his producing of "The Gospel Road," his conversion to fundamentalist Christianity and baptism in the River Jordan, Holiff resigning as Cash's manager, his then achieving his dream of getting a college degree, Columbia Records dropping Cash in 1986, Holiff's depression and suicide, and of course, both men's reliance on alcohol and drugs. Jonathan Holiff unflinchingly covers it all. At one point Cash says that he had gone through 100 pills and a case of beer in a day, noting that some men have died having abused fewer drugs in the same time period.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended September 4, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I met Jonathan Holiff and saw this film at the Memphis Film Festival, where it won for best documentary. It has continued to rack up awards and accolades worldwide. It's an incredibly unique film in every way, from it's production style to it's source material. Saul Holiff was a fascinating man who had possibly one of the hardest jobs in all of show business- managing the force of nature known as Johnny Cash. It's a must for any fan of Cash, but, it's also a touching story of a son's journey to learn about the side of his father he never knew, and to realize that his father did actually love and care for him. It's unique source material- audio diaries, recorded phone calls, photos and more from Saul Holiff's storage locker- offer a highly personal and true to life account of his years managing the man in black. This film is a gem.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Father, Every Son should see this film at least once September 11, 2013
This inspirational film makes compelling viewing as the story of the impact on the lives of effected by the erratic behavior of Johnny Cash is played out. Jonathan Holiff, the son of Saul, manager of Johnny Cash who was air brushed out of history, picks up the pieces following the premature death of his father by suicide. The resentment Johnathan felt after a life of emotional estrangement from his dad is tempered as he discovers the interminable pressure inflicted on Saul by the erratic, reckless behavior of Cash. The film is moving in a way you perhaps wont realize as the drama plays out but which will have you re-examine your relationship with your father / son and the results might not be as you would imagine. Compelling viewing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Understand the title,,,,,MY Father and The Man in Black....
I was a bit disappointed in the voice chosen to voice Johnny Cash....and also the actress and voice of June Carter... Read more
Published 2 months ago by gacookie
3.0 out of 5 stars Good use of unexpected resources
I suppose this film would not exist had not Saul Holiff had a penchant for taping things -- i.e., a great many conversations with a troubled Johnny Cash and a great many... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Keith Nichols
2.0 out of 5 stars Mayday! Mayday! We've got a documentary that needs help.
Ugh. Boring. Nothing new about John Cash....except a previously unreleased photo....of John sitting in an aurplane making a funny face. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Chastity Deaner
5.0 out of 5 stars Back up: Saul Holiff - A Man, Who Made Johnny Cash
Everyone, who know me, they can tell, that country is one of mine favorite style of music. It was my husband`s too and I do not even know, how much I have CD-s with country music... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Margit-Mariann Koppel
1.0 out of 5 stars Total Disappointment
I must say that I am very disappointed with this documentary. Are the contents of it accurate? I have no way of knowing and really don't care. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Luke
1.0 out of 5 stars main selling point, 20 minutes of mind blowing extras
When you see a movie review in theaters, and think to yourself, you know that's a really good trailer, then you spend the money and discover that the footage in the trailer was the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by west coast review
1.0 out of 5 stars was hoping for better
Was looking for more depth...for a more sentimental look at the father-son relationship. There's enough out in the world about Johnny Cash. Read more
Published 9 months ago by peter1515
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing!
This DVD is simply amazing and a must have for all people liking Johnny Cash and his career. You'll learn so much about Saul Holiff and his strange relationship with the great... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Michel Meunier
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful look at a story you think you know.
I've been a Johnny Cash fan for over half my life, this is a story that I had no idea about. It was interesting to see how Johnny Cash affected the ones he loved around him. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jason
5.0 out of 5 stars Region free or 2 for Europe
Me and many fans in Europe are waiting for the region 2 ( Europe dvd format) version with german subtitles .
We all hope it will released soon.
Published 9 months ago by Sy
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"Region free or 2 for Europe".
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Oct 16, 2013 by Jonathan Holiff |  See all 5 posts
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