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The casting of Roger Mosley, with his boyish good looks, forewarns of the total blandness of yet another tragic-black-musician biopic. While pretending to stress the realism of this version of the life of Huddie Ledbetter, Parks can't disguise the fact that the details of the black folk-hero's life have been laundered for the widest possible audience. Totally inexcusable, and downright offensive to the legacy of the man's music, is the re-recording of some of Leadbelly's best-known songs (emasculated vocals, string and woodwinds even). Best moments are some early scenes involving encounters with musicians from whom he learns humility: the anonymous old-timer who introduces him to the l2-string guitar, and his early travels with Blind Lemon Jefferson (well played by Art Evans).

By: RM

Release details

Duration: 127 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Gordon Parks
Screenwriter: Ernest Kinoy
Cast: Roger E Mosley
James E Brodhead
John McDonald
Earnest L Hudson
Dana Manno
Art Evans
Paul Benjamin
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