CIFF47: PSQ March 22 – April 1, 2023 | Streams April 2 – April 9, 2023


Year: 1997
Country: United States
Run Time: 72 minutes

Too bad the title "Trainspotting" is already taken. It could apply to this eyewitness memoir of a 1930s phenomenon permanently part of Depression lore: hoboes, migrant laborers, Okies and runaways who criss-crossed the country for free by hopping trains. Some did it for fun, some out of dire economic necessity, many for both 'Guitar Whitey' left Washington in 1938 and still enjoys riding the rails today. Clarence Lee, turned out of his Louisiana homem because there was no money, finally halted when he found steady work - but not before numerous harrowing adventures, including a narrowly avoided lynching. Interviewees recall the day California illegally sealed its borders to keep out refugees, and the left-wing politicization that often went hand-in-hand with the poverty. A 1933 Warner Brothers melodrama "Wild Boys of the Road" tried to scare impressionable viewers away from the tracks; instead, chuckles Guitar Whitey, it drew more youth than ever to the lifestyle (another comparison to "Trainspotting" seems apt). Sometimes with laughter, sometimes with tears, RIDING THE RAILS punches your ticket for a scenic trip into pure Americana. - Charles Cassady

Lexy Lovell, Michael Uys

Michael Uys, Lexy Lovell

Samuel Henriques

Howard Sharp

Principal Cast
Bob 'Guitar Whitey' Symmonds, Clarence Lee, Jim MItchell, Peggy Derhart, John Fawcett

Film Contact
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