Leadbelly

  • 1976
  • Movie
  • PG
  • Biography, Musical

Fine biopic of famed black blues/folk singer Huddie Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly, who wrote or adapted such classics as "Goodnight, Irene," "The Midnight Special," "Rock Island Line," and "The Bourgeois Blues." Ledbetter's hard life is related in flashback from his early teens to his last term in prison (he also served twice on chain gangs). The film shows...read more

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Fine biopic of famed black blues/folk singer Huddie Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly, who wrote or adapted such classics as "Goodnight, Irene," "The Midnight Special," "Rock Island Line," and "The Bourgeois Blues." Ledbetter's hard life is related in flashback from his early teens to his

last term in prison (he also served twice on chain gangs). The film shows how he he was victimized by racism but does not minimize the complexity of his erratic personality--often manifested in outbursts of violence. Though several of his songs are rendered well here by HiTide Harris, backed by

Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, David Cohen, and Dick Rosmini, LEADBELLY focuses less on the man's musical artistry than one would wish. Still, this is a very informative film, beautifully photographed by Bruce Surtees, with fine performances by almost everyone in the cast, especially Robert E.

Mosley in the title role.

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  • Released: 1976
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Fine biopic of famed black blues/folk singer Huddie Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly, who wrote or adapted such classics as "Goodnight, Irene," "The Midnight Special," "Rock Island Line," and "The Bourgeois Blues." Ledbetter's hard life is related in flashbac… (more)

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