Show Notes

For this second episode of our current season we try something new with a look back at an important film from the past, Barbara Kopple?s 1976 Harlan County U.S.A., which won the 1977 Best Documentary Oscar. Why this trip down docu-memory lane? Two reasons: 1) our guest host this week is actually a guest historian, Betsy McLane, who not only knows just about everything there is to know about documentary history, but also knows quite a lot about Kopple; and 2) the coal miners of Harlan County, Kentucky, are once again on strike, gaining national and international attention over the summer. Plus ?a change ?

And while we?re on the topic of great films about unions, we thought we?d also play a recent interview Chris did with directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert of American Factory, just recently released on Netflix, which tells the story of what happens when a Chinese glass company takes over an abandoned GM plant. It starts out so well, but then, well ? you?ll just have to listen to our podcast and then watch the movie. Enjoy!

Group Review Documentary:

HARLAN COUNTY U.S.A. (Barbara Kopple, 1976)

Available on disc and online

Film Featured in Interview Portion:

AMERICAN FACTORY (Steven Bognar/Julia Reichert, 2019)

Now on Netflix

Other Books and Documentaries Mentioned:


Links to review and interview by Christopher Llewellyn Reed:



  • 00:40 ? Intro
  • 04:27 ? Group Discussion of HARLAN COUNTY U.S.A.
  • 25:58 ? Chris interviews Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert of AMERICAN FACTORY
  • 43:38 ? Doc Talk



Artwork by Hilary Campbell

Intro music by Jeremiah Moore

Transitional music by BELLS (thanks to Christopher Ernst)

Editing and shownotes by Christopher Llewellyn Reed