I will admit it hadn’t occurred to me to mention There But for Fortune here in Staff Reads. But I happened across a list of top movies for 2011 and there it was (with a rottentomatoes.com rating by critics of 100% positive). The film documents the life and work of Phil Ochs—the protest singer form the 1960s and 70s. There But for Fortune breaks no new ground in movie-making, but does a very nice job of placing Ochs in the storm of counter-cultural/anti-war protest that seemed to envelop the decade. With video, songs, stills and interviews, Kenneth Bowser the director, documents the troubled life of Ochs the artist and activist and the movement he was part of.
I had assumed that the film’s appeal for me had to do with my having grown up listening to his songs. Plus his family and mine criss-crossed in a couple of minor ways in New York. So it was with some surprise that I read the reviews from sources as far apart as the Boston Herald and the New York Times crediting the movie as a fitting tribute to a man worth remembering.
In addition to the movie, the Library owns seven CDs byOchs.