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Did anyone watch the documentaries last night?


midnight08
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     I watched all 5 documentaries last night on TCM.  I have to admit that I didn't plan to watch them all but they were so interesting and informative that I couldn't shut them off.

     What I liked was that they weren't like many documentaries where you have a ton of other celebrities talking about the subject. They were very intimate and showed home movies of the subject.

Each one had their special moments. The one I enjoyed the most was Katherine Hepburn. I was never a big fan of hers; I thought of her as haughty with a self inflated ego. But watching her and listening

to her telling her life story changed my opinion of her. I admire her for respecting Spencer Tracy's wife by not talking about her relationship with him  till after she died. I couldn't believe it when I watched her rowing in a boat, carrying wood on her shoulders, bicycling, weeding on her hands and knees and playing tennis at 85. She was a hardy soul.

     So did anyone else catch these documentaries? What did you think?

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I watched the James Stewart one and part of the Henry Fonda documentary, though I had seen it before on TCM. Now, based on what you described, I regret not watching or recording the Hepburn one. Hopefully TCM will re-air it at a later time.

 

My one criticism of the evening is that I thought they went with only the biggest names. I am sure there are documentaries about character actors or screenwriters (maybe ones who were blacklisted). I think at least one of the selections could have been a lesser name, someone who made significant contributions during the studio era but not quite as well-known. After all, isn't the point of documentary or non-fiction filmmaking-- to educate audiences? There are plenty of other Hollywood people who are underexposed on TCM that we could benefit by learning more about...yes?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I DVR'd all the documentaries and have been trying to get through all of them.  I just have the Spencer Tracy and the Henry Fonda one left.

 

The reason why these documentaries were scheduled is because they were all done by the team of Joan Kramer and David Heeley who co-hosted these documentaries with Robert Osborne.  They've written a book, In the Company of Legends, and I think this night of programming and their appearance with Osborne was intended to promote their book.  I found their anecdotes of working with all these huge Hollywood stars to be very interesting.  I love hearing stories from people who were actually "there" and actually met these people, and not just people repeating things they've heard. 

 

BACALL ON BOGART: This one was fun.  Having Bacall be involved with and narrate the documentary was a nice touch, as she would obviously have more intimate information and more of a stake in participating in an accurate documentary about her husband.  Most of the time I love watching these documentaries solely for the photographs and rare video footage that is shown--especially candids.  It gives you more of an idea as to who someone was and what they were all about.  I knew that The Big Sleep had scenes that were reshot, but I had never seen the original version of the "horse racing" scene.  The redone scene was definitely better.

 

JAMES STEWART, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.  James Stewart is one of those actors that I don't dislike but don't go out of my way to see either.  If he happens to be in a film I'm interested in, then I usually enjoy his work.  He always seemed like an "aw shucks" kind of guy with a stutter.  This documentary gave me a new image of him and I may seek more of his films out in the future.  I really liked his dry sense of humor.  His "poems" that he read on Johnny Carson were hilarious and I also liked him singing "Ragtime Cowboy Joe" on The Carol Burnett Show.  I had no idea he appeared in a musical, Born to Dance.  His documentary was fun.

 

My favorite (so far) though was KATHARINE HEPBURN: ALL ABOUT ME.  I loved that the writers mentioned to Osborne that Jane Fonda wanted to narrate the documentary about her friend, Hepburn.  Katharine Hepburn said that while she liked Jane Fonda, she was fully capable of telling her own story.  I really liked Hepburn's approach and it was fun seeing her running errands in NYC like it was no big deal.  I laughed when her assistant got into the back of the car and Hepburn filled it with flowers.  Her Connecticut estate was beautiful.  What I found interesting about the documentary, is her mentions of Oscar nominations and awards.  She never accepted any of these awards in person, I always assumed it was because she didn't care.  However, her mentioning her awards and accolades makes me think that these things were important to her, she doesn't strike me as a shy person, so I wonder why she never accepted her awards? Also, her telling her story of her life with Spencer Tracy was very touching and sweet.  She genuinely loved him and think that will only enhance my experience when seeing the films they made together.  Katharine Hepburn is one of my favorites and I found her life fascinating.  

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KATHARINE HEPBURN: ALL ABOUT ME.  I loved that the writers mentioned to Osborne that Jane Fonda wanted to narrate the documentary about her friend, Hepburn.  Katharine Hepburn said that while she liked Jane Fonda, she was fully capable of telling her own story.  

 

 What I found interesting about the documentary, is her mentions of Oscar nominations and awards.  She never accepted any of these awards in person, I always assumed it was because she didn't care.  However, her mentioning her awards and accolades makes me think that these things were important to her, she doesn't strike me as a shy person, so I wonder why she never accepted her awards?

 

Even though she never accepted her Oscars in person, the awards were apparently very important to Katherine Hepburn.

 

Jane Fonda tells the story of Hepburn calling Fonda after Hepburn's win for ON GOLDEN POND (in which Fonda played Hepburn's daughter) and saying to Fonda, "Now you'll never catch me!"

(Jane Fonda had already won 2 Oscars at that time and was nominated for a Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in ON GOLDEN POND.)

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