Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound

Film should hold interest for admirers of the renowned singer and human-rights activist.

With: Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, David Harris, Gabriel Harris, Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Although it feels more like an authorized biography than an in-depth portrait, “Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound” should hold interest for admirers of the renowned singer, recording artist and human-rights activist. Scheduled for an Oct. 14 airdate on the PBS “American Masters” series after its Toronto Film Festival premiere, this well-crafted docu also will get wide circulation through its upcoming release as part of a CD/DVD package.

Producer-helmer Mary Wharton smartly incorporates archival material and talking-head interviews while following Baez’s life and career from her debut as a teenage performer at the 1957 Newport Folk Festival to her recent tour in support of her 2008 Grammy-nominated album “Day After Tomorrow.” The most interesting segments, not surprisingly, focus on Baez’s involvement with the ’60s civil rights and antiwar movements. Recalling her march with black students in Grenada, Miss., Baez says, “I was celebrity enough that (anti-integration protesters) stopped throwing bricks because the press was there.” But the docu gives equal balance to her artistry, encouraging notables such as Bob Dylan (who’s quite candid about their romantic past) to praise Baez for her “heart-stopping soprano voice” and her enduring musical legacy.

Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound

Production: An American Masters presentation of a Thirteen and Razor & Tie production. Produced by Mary Spector, Mary Wharton. Executive producers, Susan Lacy, Cliff Chenfeld, Craig Balsam. Directed by Mary Wharton. Written by Wharton, Mary Spector.

Crew: Camera (B&W/color), James Fielder; editor, Kris Liem. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Sept. 25, 2009. (In Toronto Film Festival -- Yonge and Dundas Square.) Running time: 83 MIN.

Cast: With: Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, David Harris, Gabriel Harris, Rev. Jesse Jackson.

More Scene

  • Elsie Fisher and Bo Burnham2019 Writers

    Writers Guild Announces 2020 Awards Show Date

    The 72nd Annual Writers Guild Awards will take place in coinciding ceremonies in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton and the Edison Ballroom in New York on Feb. 1, the Writers Guild of America announced. The WGA will begin voting in November and will reveal this year’s TV nominees Dec. 5 and film Jan. 6. [...]

  • LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With

    Outfest Opens With Documentary About Gay Porn Shops Circus of Books

    Granted, the red carpet at the opening night of Outfest in DTLA may not have been the most star-studded but it was without a doubt the most diverse, inclusive and, yes, fabulous. “I’ve never been here before,” admitted “RuPaul’s Drag Race” vet Trixie Mattel, who stars in the documentary “Moving Parts.” “It’s supposed to be [...]

  • Alamo Drafthouse Opens New Downtown Los

    Alamo Drafthouse Storms into L.A. with New Location

    “Cinema is alive and well tonight!” Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League declared at the theatrical venue’s ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday night, where a gathering of 160 employees cheered and sliced into a strip of 35mm film in keeping with the company’s tradition. Despite dire predictions heralding the end of the theater-going experience, League was upbeat [...]

  • America Ferrera'Superstore' TV show photocall, Comic

    America Ferrera Blasts 'Send Her Back' Chant: 'Embarrassing and Shameful'

    America Ferrera has been a longtime political activist who has focused a large part of her work on immigrant rights. She’s now speaking out about the chant of “send her back” targeting Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar that was shouted at a President Donald Trump rally earlier this week. “It’s devastating and shocking and embarrassing and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content