The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time!

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Movie Info

This is a tribute film to the first folk music group to break through to a wider audience, the Weavers, formed in the late '40s by Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, and Ronnie Gilbert. In 1950, the group made history with their recording of the Leadbelly song "Goodnight, Irene," which stayed on top of the pop charts for an astonishing 13 weeks. Two years later, the Weavers ran afoul of anti-communist politicians and activists dedicated to rooting out all entertainers with affiliations or associations with that party. The Weavers were blacklisted for several years, then made a stunning comeback with a New Year's Eve 1955 concert at Carnegie Hall, which became their most popular recording. Seeger left the group in 1958 for a solo career, and the Weavers carried on with several lineups for another five years. For this film, the original quartet re-formed in 1981 and performed a final show at Carnegie Hall, with the ill Lee Hays in a wheelchair. He died before the film was released, and it's clear that, although Seeger went on to the greatest fame among the original members, Hays' spirit guided the group throughout its existence and fuels this film. Director Jim Brown mixes footage of the group in their heyday with reminiscences by the members as they prepare for their last waltz together.

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