Picks and Pans Review: The Man Who Beat the Blacklist...john Henry Faulk
PBS (Wed., Aug. 1, 9 P.M. ET)
An informative but not very involving documentary looks at Faulk's inestimable contribution to fighting McCarthyism in 1950s America. Faulk, a folksy and funny CBS radio personality, had trouble finding work after it was wrongly alleged by AWARE Inc. that he was a Communist, but his courageous struggle, in and out of the courts, won back his good name.
Hosted by Faulk's pal Studs Terkel, the documentary consists largely of outtakes from an interview Faulk, who died in April, did with Bill Moyers last year. There are also scenes from a funny one-man stage show Faulk performed in Texas recently. Those moments work very well. What we never get, however, is the man behind the story. For example, how did Faulk's personal sacrifice affect his family? Though Terkel turns some nice phrases—"He was a lone man but never a lonely man"—he could have gone deeper. We're told, for example, that Faulk had three children. We never see them, let alone learn how they felt about their crusading dad.
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