For more than half a century, the musical entity known as Peter, Paul and Mary, beginning in the early 1960s, turned the world upside down with their activism against war, nuclear energy, and inequality. The recently re-released 2014 DVD, 50 Years with Peter, Paul and Mary, traces their extraordinary journey far beyond “Five Hundred Miles” from where it began in Greenwich Village, NY in 1961 to a 2009 memorial for their female member in 78 minutes.
Producer/director Jim Brown juxtaposes intimate interviews with Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers, family members and friends between live action concert recordings of their most beloved songs. Brown also adds vintage film footage from historic events. Most memorable scenes include those from the 1965 Montgomery Civil Rights March in Selma, AL led by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the 1969 March on Washington with Pete Seeger to protest the Vietnam War Draft, and the 1978 “Survival Sunday,” held at the Hollywood Bowl.
Delivering a potent mix of intelligence, sexual edginess and social consciousness, the trio emotes sorrowfully: “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “Early Mornin’ Rain,” “If I Had a Hammer,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “The Times They Are a Changin’” “Give Peace a Chance,” “There But For Fortune, (Go You or Go I,)” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “Puff The Magic Dragon” and more. Audiences of all ages participate in rare sing-alongs and testify to their enduring legacy.
These authentic and empathetic human beings sang songs and lived lives that made a real difference in American history, and, still today, they extend an invitation to join their causes.
—Donna Marie Miller