Leadbelly (1976)




Director:   Gordon Parks Sr.

Starring:    Roger E. Mosley (Huddie Ledbetter), Paul Benjamin (Wes Ledbetter), Madge Sinclair (Miss Eula),  Alan Manson (Prison Chief Guard), Albert Hall (Dicklicker), Art Evans (Blind Lemon Jefferson), James E. Brodhead (John Lomax), John Henry Faulk (Governor Neff), Vivian Bonnell (Old Lady), Dana Manno (Margaret Judd), Timothy Pickard (Gray Man), Lynn Hamilton (Sally Ledbetter), Loretta Greene (Lethe), Valerie Odell (Amy), Rozaa Jean (Sugar Tit).

Hard life of black blues/folk singer Huddie Ledbetter.


Spoiler Warning:




Historical Background:


1885  -- born Huddie William Ledbetter on the Jeter Plantation near Mooringsport, Louisiana.

1890  -- he and his family move t Leigh, Texas. His uncle Terrell buys him an accordion.

around 1906  --  with his guitar he wanders around the southwest eking out a living playing guitar.

1916 --  in a Texas jail for assault; escapes.

Convicted of murder, he is sentenced to thirty years at Huntsville, Texas' Shaw State Prison Farm.  Gets released after only seven years, after wooing the governor with a song.  

1930 --  gets convicted of attempted murder; sent to Louisiana State Penitentiary.

1933 --  sings blues and folk songs for John Lomax and his son Alan who were collecting such tunes for the Library of Congress.

1934  --  Lomaxes record more of Leadbelly's songs. They record on the other side of the recording 'Goodnight Irene' Leadbelly's appeal to the governor for a pardon from prison. Leadbelly gets his second pardon.

1935 --  Lomax takes Leadbelly north where he becomes a sensation. His friendship with Lomax ends after he threatens the man with a knife.

1940 --  Leadbelly now well known. He even went on a European tour.

1949  --  dies. (He suffered from lateral sclerosis).



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