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Three of Hollywood’s greatest living directors came out to celebrate five giants of the past who built the industry on Monday night at the premiere of the documentary Five Came Back at the Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.
The three-part documentary was adapted from Mark Harris’ best-selling book Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War, which focuses on the five filmmakers who risked their lives during the war to bring the truth back to Americans the only way they knew how: through their work.
The experiences of those legendary filmmakers — John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra and George Stevens — changed Hollywood. Five Came Back uses some of the greats of the current generation — Steven Spielberg (executive producer), Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo Del Toro, Paul Greengrass, and Lawrence Kasdan, with narration by Meryl Streep — to tell the story of the famed five.
“I felt a kinship with Capra and Wyler more than anyone else. I love Spielberg, but Wyler and Capra move me very deeply,” Del Toro said at the premiere at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. “This was a great opportunity to go a little deeper on Capra and what he did and how he created American mythology for the second half of the 20th century. And how he was, as an immigrant, forging things that are purely American in a way I identify with the country. As an immigrant myself, that’s important to me.”
Kasdan was also moved by the filmmakers and was very passionate about making sure their achievements don’t get brushed aside.
“These are five of the greatest directors that ever lived. They were thrown into an extraordinary experience, and each one was changed by it,” Kasdan said. “George Stevens — who had an amazing career before the war and an amazing career after the war — may have been changed the most. I want everyone to know about these people. Things change so quickly: names slip away, people don’t know who they are. I’m not so much concerned that they went off to the war, but if they see a clip of Grapes of Wrath and that makes them watch it, that’s all really good.”
Five Came Back will be available on Netflix beginning March 31.
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