Man in Black’s life is in the spotlight at National Media Museum

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A film charting the turbulent life of country singer Johnny Cash is being shown at the National Media Museum A film charting the turbulent life of country singer Johnny Cash is being shown at the National Media Museum

An unusual dramatised documentary about the turbulent life and times of legendary country singer Johnny Cash and his manager is being screened at the National Media Museum in Bradford next week.

My Father And The Man in Black charts the rise of Cash from a small-time show performer to an international superstar.

The man largely responsible was Saul Holif, who committed suicide after breaking with Cash, whose career took a turn he didn’t like after the singer became a born-again Christian.

Before that, Holif had steered the pill-popping singer to his greatest album successes – the live concerts at 1968 and 1969 concerts at Folsom and San Quentin prisons.

He was the fixer behind the scenes who booked the concerts, dealt with lawyers when Cash didn’t turn up for shows, bailed him out of police custody, arranged his divorce from his first wife and the marriage to his second.

The film was six years in the making. It was written, compiled and directed by Holif’s estranged son Jonathan, who discovered a stash of audio-tapes his father kept which included letters and taped phone conversations with Cash.

These are used in the film, along with newsreel film of concerts, television clips and actors playing the parts of Holif, Cash and his second wife June Carter at different times in their lives.

Bill Lawrence, formerly head of cinema at the museum, is helping to get the multi-award winning Canadian film shown in this country.

He said: “The tenth anniversary of Johnny Cash’s death is coming up next month. I am not a fan, but I got a lot out of this film, which is also about fathers and sons.

“Saul Holif wasn’t home most of the time because he was on tour with Johnny Cash. But when he was, he didn’t have a good relationship with Jonathan. This is Jonathan’s debut film.”

My Father And The Man In Black is on at the National Media Museum from Monday to Thursday.

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