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My Father and the Man in Black (2012)

2:07 | Trailer
The untold story of 'bad-boy' Johnny Cash, his talented but troubled manager, Saul Holiff, and a son searching for his father in the shadow of a legend.


Jonathan Holiff


Jonathan Holiff
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Saul Holiff Saul Holiff ... Himself (archive footage)
Johnny Cash ... Himself (archive footage)
Jonathan Holiff Jonathan Holiff ... Himself
Bob Dylan ... Himself (archive footage)
June Carter Cash ... Herself (archive footage)
Harvey Glatt Harvey Glatt ... Himself
Gary Holiff Gary Holiff ... Saul Holiff at 50
David Disher David Disher ... Johnny Cash at 30
Joshua Robinson Joshua Robinson ... Saul Holiff at 40
Dan Champagne Dan Champagne ... Johnny Cash at 40
Norman Singer Norman Singer ... Saul Holiff at 75
Elli Hollands Elli Hollands ... June Carter / June Carter Cash
Alino Giraldi Alino Giraldi ... Saul Holiff at 20
Robert Skanes ... Marshall Grant
Trevor Juras Trevor Juras ... Luther Perkins


After the suicide of Johnny Cash's former manager, Saul Holiff, his estranged son, Jonathon, returns home. There, Jonathon learns from his mother that his father's personal records exist in storage. As Jonathon searches through them, he discovers much about his father's life of deferred dreams in London, Ontario until he became the manager of Johnny Cash. From there, Jonathon learns of his father's hectic life managing the erratic country star with his personal demons and moods and how the material success came with a profound cost of its own for Saul. In doing so, Jonathon gets a new perspective of a father who had his problems that he never fully conquered himself. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Before there was Johnny and June, there was Johnny and Saul See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site





Release Date:

6 September 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Johnny and Saul See more »

Filming Locations:

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Country singer Mel Tillis told The Kingston Whig Standard in 2009 that he "got to know Johnny over the years. Oh, man, he was something else. Saul did a great job. Johnny put him through it. Saul earned every damn dime!" See more »


Saul Holiff: The situation was that Johnny was on the floor of the motor home totally unconscious. No one could pick up any pulse whatsoever. For all intents and purposes, HE WAS DEAD. Harold Reid had his ear on Cash's chest saying, "I can't hear anything." Another member of the group is saying, "I wonder where he hid the pills;" another is saying, "I'm not going to cross the border, because WE'LL ALL GO TO JAIL." Another is saying, "Wellesley Hospital is right around the corner, why don't we take him there...
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, where a major distributor is normally listed, the filmmaker inserted the words "Intentionally Left Blank." This was an inside joke. Adverse market conditions offset by a large following for the film made self-releasing a more attractive option. Later, when the film was given final certification for tax credit purposes, the Canadian government required the filmmaker to sign an affidavit swearing that no such company "Intentionally Left Blank" had been connected with the film. See more »

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User Reviews

The Father Son Conundrum as sung by Johnny Cash
8 October 2013 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

Jonathan Holiff has courage. He has created a story about his own sense of isolation and loneliness and disregard by his father and unlike so many men who have had the same submerged life of regret, Jonathan Holiff has worked through his - through soul searching, agonizing recollections, the death of a father that was so distant, and through research that unearthed years of recorded tapes made by his father that explain many of the problems Jonathan never understood.

Jonathan Holiff's father, Saul Holiff, was Johnny Cash's personal manager from 1960 to 1973. This film is the untold story of 'bad-boy' Johnny Cash, his talented but troubled manager, Saul Holiff, and a son searching for his father in the shadow of a legend. But what the film delivers in a sophisticated approach to a documentary (mixing many clips of historic clips and conversations on tapes with live actors standing in for the featured characters of this tale) is another look at just who Johnny Cash really was - from a mediocre country singer to a drug addict and alcoholic to a wreck of a human being who failed to show up for concerts, to his gradual comeback via his unique recordings from prisons and then to his fall again as he became a radical fundamentalist born again Christian, through two marriages and a divorce, his fame with June Carter Cash and his eventual death from complications of diabetes in 2003. Tat is not the Cash the public knows and the fact that he sustained the glow of fame is in large part due to the tireless efforts of Saul Holiff, himself an alcoholic and tormented man.

But at what costs? This film allows us to connect most closely with Jonathan Holiff as he comes to grips with the man who as his father was carrying on the tradition of emotional frigidity with his son. The young Holiff knows just how far to push the buttons and when to back off, and the end result is a very powerful film on so very many levels.

Grady Harp

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