American Masters: Season 16 (2001 - 2002)

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Season 16
American Masters

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 7, 2001

Recalling Samuel Goldwyn (1879-1974), Hollywood's "ultimate indie producer," whose films include "Wuthering Heights," "Pride of the Yankees" and "The Best Years of Our Lives." Goldwyn made most of his 80 films lavishly---and independently. He was, says biographer A.Scott Berg, "a one-man band pretending to be a studio." Berg is interviewed throughout, and there are also comments by Goldwyn's son and daughter and a number of Hollywood notables. Dustin Hoffman narrates.

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Air date: Oct 14, 2001

A leisurely, graceful recounting of the short, turbulent life of F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), the Jazz Age's most celebrated chronicler. Filmmaker DeWitt Sage intertwines Fitzgerald's observations (spoken by Campbell Scott) and those of his wife Zelda (Laura Linney) with readings from "The Great Gatsby" and other works (read by Amy Irving), and comments by authors, academics and people who knew the Fitzgeralds.

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Air date: Nov 4, 2001

Richard Rodgers was one of the finest and most influential composers the American musical theater ever produced; with such distinguished collaborators as Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II, Rodgers crafted such classics as +Oklahoma, +The Sound of Music, +Pal Joey, +Carousel, +South Pacific, +Babes in Arms, +The Boys From Syracuse, and +Cinderella. Richard Rogers: Sweetest Sounds is a documentary produced for the PBS series American Masters which examines Rodgers' remarkable career, which spanned six decades, as well as his often troubled personal life, which was clouded by spells of alcoholism and depression. Richard Rogers: Sweetest Sounds includes interviews with composers Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Rodney Bennett, vocalists Julie Andrews and Maureen McGovern, jazz artist Billy Taylor, actress Celeste Holm, and critic John Lahr.

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Air date: Nov 18, 2001

Quincy Jones has worn many hats during his fifty-plus years in the music business -- sideman, soloist, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, producer, film composer. film producer -- and has worked with a who's who of American music, from Count Basie and Tommy Dorsey to Dizzy Gilespie and Miles Davis, and on to Frank Sinatra and Ella Fiztgerald, and later Donna Summer and Michael Jackson. Quincy Jones: In The Pocket is a documentary which offers an in-depth look at Jones's remarkable career, featuring interviews with his friends and admirers (including Sidney Poitier, Maya Angelou, and Bill Clinton) and rare footage of Jones at work in the studio, including sessions with Sinatra and an insider's look at the "We Are The World" sessions.

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Air date: Nov 28, 2001

In 1950, a former radio engineer named Sam Phillips opened a recording studio in Memphis, TN, and began cutting sessions on Southern country and blues artists, which he leased to record labels around the country. In 1952, Phillips decided to cut out the middleman and started his own record company, Sun Records; while Phillips continued to record C&W and R&B acts, he began finding artists who were mixing the two styles into something different. Within a few years, Phillips had discovered and recorded Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and many more, and while Phillips certainly didn't invent rock & roll, his label was one of the first to truly give it a voice, and few record companies have ever had so great a cultural impact as Sun. Good Rockin' Tonight: The Legacy of Sun Records is a documentary which looks at the history of Phillips' little label, and the impact it had on music and culture worldwide. Along with visits from legendary Memphis musicians, Good Rockin' Tonight also features a number of top rock acts paying tribute to the music of Sun Records, including Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Matchbox Twenty, Kid Rock, Mark Knopfler, and many more.

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Air date: Dec 16, 2001

Merce Cunningham, postmodern dance's grand old man, looks back on 60 years of innovation in this profile. The hour covers some of the choreographer's work (Mikhail Baryshnikow is seen in one piece), but it focuses on the "shockingly radical" (in the words of critic Deborah Jowitt) dances he began choreographing in the 1940s during his stint as a soloist in Martha Graham's company.

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Air date: Feb 19, 2002

Avon Kirkland's Ralph Ellison: An American Journey takes a close look at the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ralph Ellison. In addition to the expected array of experts that analyze Ellison's work, Kirkland intersperses dramatized scenes from Ellison's only novel Invisible Man, including the infamous blind battle royal that appears in the beginning of the book. Andre Braugher (Homicide) provides the narration. This film was screened at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival before playing as part of the American Masters series on PBS.

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Air date: Mar 1, 2002

On the short list of great cinema dancers, Gene Kelly led a multi-faceted career that included acting, directing, and choreography. This documentary, narrated by Stanley Tucci, offers a look at the man's driving work ethic and his rich talent that led to such memorable classics as Singin' in the Rain, On the Town, and the Oscar-winning An American in Paris. The DVD release of this documentary offers a complete Gene Kelly filmography.

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