ReMastered: Tricky Dick & the Man in Black continues this Netflix investigative series, which looks at some of the world’s most known celebrities at crucial moments, not only for their careers but also for the public (watch here).
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The first case to be analyzed was Bob Marley and his relations with Jamaican politics, which led to an attempt on his life – from which he managed to get out alive, even though he was shot. Now the production is set at the moment of the history in which two very charismatic people meet at different times of their life: the American president Richard Nixon and the country singer Johnny Cash.
A meeting that could be analyzed in a simple way ends up gaining heavy political contours. The United States was immersed in a war where they were apparently losing, and Nixon was in need of good news. So he invited Cash to sing at the White House. Being the singer a great patriot, he felt divided: should he attend, or not, and run the risk of being used by the president?
Johnny Cash, at that time, was one of the great American artists. He had achieved much success with his songs that represented the countryside of the United States, being well received by the entire population. It was also, as the interviewees in ReMastered: Tricky Dick & the Man in Black report, a great patriot, a guy who loved the United States, and the freedom that the country’s politics represented to the rest of the world. But at the time – the late 60s, early 70s – Cash was in a troubled personal phase, with family problems and his addiction to drugs and liquor. As all this was kept out of the public eye, his popularity was kept intact.
So he got himself at a crossroad when then-President Richard Nixon invited him to sing at the White House. At the request of the chief of the nation, he should present some songs that had some favorable connotation to the Vietnam War, a conflict in which the United States was involved at the time. However, Cash was not quite sure that was true, and feared that he would be politically used by the president to deliver a message of support for his warmongering policy.
It is this duality that is shown in ReMastered: Tricky Dick & the Man in Black. Through interviews with people who studied that moment or who were in some way present with the president and the singer, the documentary seeks to understand the motivations that led Nixon to invite Cash to this event, and why the president wanted him to sing the specific songs that would, in a way, give the impression of Cash’s support for a war that he, in particular, had doubts about if it really was needed.
An important period of time
Undoubtedly, ReMastered: Tricky Dick & the Man in Black recreates a historical moment: when people began to realize that the Vietnam War, if analyzed in detail, had no reason to be. The position of Johnny Cash, the well-known Man in Black and one of the most famous artists of the United States at the time, is scattered in the documentary until we finally reach the moment of the meeting between the popular singer and the president of the most powerful nation in the world, and that ended in a clash of thoughts that marked the history of the United States.
These cases are very interesting to understand what happened, in fact, in a time so little documented, with events that ended up falling into oblivion. Reminiscing Johnny Cash and his vigorous White House show in 1972 reminds us today how Nixon’s shield against the Vietnam War began to fall. Shortly after, he resigned to not to undergo an impeachment process resulting from the famous Watergate affair. Cash, meanwhile, continued his defiant attitude, defending the oppressed until his death in 2003. The meeting of these two personalities so similar in appearance but completely different in their intentions is very well recorded by this essential documentary, which shows an important period in the history of the United States.
Trailer and additional information about ReMastered: Tricky Dick & the Man in Black Netflix
Synopsis 1: A champion for the poor and oppressed, Jhonny Cash shook the White House with a defiant message of justice.
Synopsis 2: This documentary chronicles Johnny Cash’s 1970 visit to the White House, where Cash’s emerging ideals clashed with Richard Nixon’s policies.
Age rating: 16