Chords of Fame
The late folksinger Phil Ochs was known as the troubadour of the new left in the early sixties. A musician and poet, he also had a zest for stardom that he was unable to integrate with his political viewpoints. Though he had a fiercely loyal following among colleagues and aficionados of the sixties folk scene, he never approached the fame of his contemporary, Bob Dylan; his was a small circle of friends. Ochs committed suicide in 1976. Chords of Fame, directed and produced by Michael Korolenko, grew out of Mady Schutzman's stage play by the same name, and features that production's star, Bill Burnett, as Phil Ochs. Burnett's portrayal of Ochs has been the hitch for critics in an otherwise lauded look at the life of Phil Ochs, in which his friends--Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and others--and his brother and sister, Michael and Sonny Ochs, create the best sense of this now charming, now abrasive, always animated character. Och's music, according to New York Times critic Janet Maslin, is best represented in the film as sung by his fellow folksingers, including Eric Andersen, Pete Seeger and Tom Paxton.