One of my shortcomings in movie blogging is talking about the social context of the narrative instead of how film delivers the narrative. This is true when I talk about historical pieces like “Bound For Glory”, that’s all I see.
As the caption in that screen shot says, Woody Guthrie is like a modern cowboy, with a twist! The film begins in Pampa, Texas, and no offense to anyone who lives there now but the film’s depiction of the town is fucking tumbleweeds. And this is the middle of country and a part that’s already considered “The West.” This isn’t a Brigham Young type of frontier-ism – the traditional West still isn’t good enough especially by the Depression, and an American can only expect to go further to succeed. And when he gets there he mingles with Oklahoman fruit pickers in California, gets his radio show, struggles with his union beliefs and fame and family.
Great cinematography, but of course I have a few complaints. The movie, like the real Woody, stayed too long in Texas and also a bit longer in the other places the character finds himself being. David Carradine does some good work playing a small town boy but comes short at making him sympathetic. He can’t juggle his beliefs and his family, a mid-20th century version of the workaholic dad who always misses his son’s big baseball game.
I’m still baffled yet in reverence of New Hollywood because they could make movies about socialism with jazz hands. The contradiction of being pro-union while working in a sponsored radio show isn’t stressed in the film, although that’s probably a more contemporary way of thinking. Tip: If someone wants to do an agenda movie, they can use the immigration in California in the 30’s and use Okies as a metaphor for the way Mexicans are treated today.