Renowned documentary-maker Ken Burns turns his attention to perhaps the most famous American writer in history, via cameos from the likes of Meryl Streep. What a treat
Those familiar with the Ken Burns style – memorably put to use to unpick such varied topics as the Vietnam war, jazz and baseball – will expect a certain standard from the renowned documentary-maker’s take on Ernest Hemingway (BBC Four). With his regular partner, Lynn Novick, Burns offers a meaty and impeccably researched look at perhaps the most famous American writer in literary history. Over six episodes, it examines the author’s life in chronological order, recruiting top-flight actors – Patricia Clarkson, Jeff Daniels and, later, Meryl Streep as his third wife, the foreign correspondent Martha Gellhorn – to read his work and his letters, as well as letters sent to him by friends and family. It also circles the themes that came to define his work and the myths around the man that have led him to be considered, in more recent times, a controversial figure.
“He made himself the most celebrated American writer since Mark Twain,” says the narrator, just as the story begins. That “made himself” makes it plain that this is not a hagiography. This is as much about the creation of the Hemingway myth, by him and others around him, as it is the myth itself. Though as one contributor, the writer Michael Katakis, puts it, “the man is much more interesting than the myth”.
from The Guardian https://ift.tt/3qwOwWI
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