Bound for Glory (film)
Bound for Glory is a 1976 American biographical film directed by Hal Ashby and loosely adapted by Robert Getchell from Woody Guthrie's 1943 partly fictionalized autobiography Bound for Glory. The film stars David Carradine as folk singer Woody Guthrie and Ronny Cox, Melinda Dillon, Gail Strickland, John Lehne, Ji-Tu Cumbuka and Randy Quaid.
|Bound for Glory|
Theatrical release poster by Tom Jung
|Directed by||Hal Ashby|
Robert F. Blumofe|
|Screenplay by||Robert Getchell|
Bound for Glory|
by Woody Guthrie
Leonard Rosenman (conductor and music adaptor)|
Pembroke J. Herring|
Robert C. Jones
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Budget||$10 million or $7 million|
Bound for Glory was the first motion picture in which inventor/operator Garrett Brown used his new Steadicam for filming moving scenes. Director of Photography Haskell Wexler won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography at the 49th Academy Awards.
All of the main events and characters, except for Guthrie and his first wife, Mary, are entirely fictional. The film ends with Guthrie singing his most famous song, "God Blessed America" (subsequently retitled "This Land Is Your Land"), on his way to New York, but, in fact, the song was composed in New York in 1940 and forgotten by him until five years later.
“If you want to make a Woody Guthrie film that is solidly commercial, you have to have someone kill him in the end," said Ashby.
During the Dust Bowl period of the Great Depression in the 1930s, Woody Guthrie (David Carradine) was not able to support his family as a sign painter and a local musician in Pampa, Texas. After hearing all the great things about California, he decided to join the migration westward to supposedly greener California pastures via boxcar and hitchhiking. He left without saying a word with only a note to his wife (Melinda Dillon). Woody discovered the cruel truth of California's fruit-pickers and joined Ozark Blue (Ronny Cox) to fight for the people with their songs. He became a celebrated folk singer on radio with partners Ozark and Memphis Sue (Melinda Dillon) while still fighting for his causes. Meanwhile, he developed a romance with Pauline (Gail Strickland) before getting his family to a middle-class home in California. Woody's refusal to conform to the musical business practice and obsession with the hobo campers' causes would threaten to break up his family and derail his music career which is gaining recognition. At the end, he decides to go to New York to sing for the people. Much of the film is based on Guthrie's attempt to humanize the desperate Okie Dust Bowl refugees in California during the Great Depression.
- David Carradine as Woody Guthrie
- Ronny Cox as Ozark Bule
- Melinda Dillon as Mary / Memphis Sue
- Gail Strickland as Pauline
- Randy Quaid as Luther Johnson
- John Lehne as Locke
- Ji-Tu Cumbuka as Slim Snedeger
- Elizabeth Macey as Liz Johnson
- Susan Vaill as Gwen Guthrie
- Wendy Schaal as Mary Jo Guthrie - Woody's Sister
- Guthrie Thomas as George Guthrie, Woody's Brother
with appearances by
Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson both turned down the role. Richard Dreyfuss was considered. Tim Buckley was going to be offered the part but died of a drug overdoe. Ashby interviewed David Carradine but turned him down, in part because he felt Carradine was too tall. However over time he reconsidered. "He had the right rural look and the musicianship," said Ashby. "And he had a ‘to hell with you’ attitude."
Ashby later said Carradine's "to hell with you" attitude did cause him some problems during filming. :Once, when we were doing a scene, some migrant workers marched by. David started marching with them. By the time we found him, he was two miles away; and he had held up shooting for three hours.”
- 1976: Best Cinematography (Haskell Wexler)
- 1976: Best Music, Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score (Leonard Rosenman)
Besides the Academy Awards, this film won 1976 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Cinematography (Haskell Wexler) and National Board of Review Award for Best Actor (David Carradine). It was nominated for 4 Golden Globe Awards as well as Palme d'Or in 1977 Cannes Film Festival.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- "The Films of Hal Ashby". Beach, Christopher (2009). Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press, p. 176, ISBN 978-0-8143-3415-7.
- Harmetz, Aljean (5 December 1976). "Gambling on a Film About the Great Depression". New York Times.
- Bound for Glory on IMDb
- "Steadicam 30th anniversary press release". Archived from the original on 2014-04-30.
- Lucia Bozzola. "Bound for Glory (1976) – Hal Ashby – Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related – AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-30.