American Masters: Season 24 (2010 - 2011)

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Season 24
American Masters

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Episodes

Air date: Mar 31, 2010

Architect I.M. Pei, who left China in the 1930s, returns to his family's hometown of Suzhou to design a museum. The documentary features remarks from fellow architects and designers, scholars, local residents and Suzhou officials.

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Air date: May 12, 2010

Johnny Depp narrates this phenomenal history of the Doors, the rock group responsible for such classics as "Light My Fire" and "L.A. Woman." It utilizes only footage shot from the band's 1965 formation to singer Jim Morrison's 1971 death, including a wealth of previously unseen clips. As Depp says, "To some, Jim was a poet, his soul trapped between heaven and hell. To others, he was just another rock star who crashed and burned. But this much is true: You can't burn out if you're not on fire."

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Air date: Jul 21, 2010

"There are a lot of us that they called outlaws back in the beginning, but Merle was a real outlaw" says a laughing Kris Kristofferson in this penetrating profile of "the poet of the working man," Merle Haggard. The doc charts his rise from a hard-scrabble early life, including prison time, and the death of his father, to topping the country-music charts, and features a wealth of archival footage and remarks from Haggard, family and such friends as Kristofferson, Keith Richards and Tanya Tucker.

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Air date: Sep 20, 2010

Andy Garcia narrates "Cachao: Uno Mas," a profile of influential Cuban mambo musician Israel "Cachao" Lopez (1918-2008). Footage from a 2005 San Francisco gig and a nostalgic conversation with him, Garcia and saxophonist Ray Santos spice the doc, which also features remarks from his daughter Elena and Gloria Estefan, who says "we would be a less rich musical country" without him.

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Air date: Oct 4, 2010

Martin Scorsese writes "A Letter to Elia," part profile of filmmaker Elia Kazan and part memoir about how Kazan's "On the Waterfront" and "East of Eden" impacted him as a young man. The doc features clips, photos and excerpts from Kazan's autobiography, as well as a speech Kazan gave on directing, a videotaped interview with Kazan and Scorsese's own commentary.

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Air date: Nov 22, 2010

Archival footage, studio outtakes and remarks from Yoko Ono, photographer Bob Gruen, producer Jack Douglas and members of the Elephant's Memory band spice "LENNONYC," which chronicles John Lennon's life after moving from Britain to the Big Apple in 1971. It recalls the tempest he and Yoko Ono stirred in the early 1970s, his immigration battle to stay in the U.S., his "lost weekend" in L.A. and love for New York, his years raising son Sean, and his reemergence in 1980 with "Double Fantasy."

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Air date: Dec 27, 2010

"Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould" profiles the enigmatic pianist (1932-82), whose eccentricities often overshadowed his talent. It includes film footage, photographs, excerpts from his private home recordings and diaries, and remarks from close friends and former lovers.

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Air date: Jan 12, 2011

Filmmaker Gail Levin explores the life and work of celebrated Hollywood star Jeff Bridges in this documentary exploring the many facets of his enduring career, and featuring candid interviews with the people who know him best. Revered for his naturalistic onscreen presence, Bridges first appeared onscreen as an infant in the 1951 film The Company She Keeps. Twenty years later, he received his first Oscar nomination for his performance in The Last Picture Show. Ever since then, Bridges has developed into one of Hollywood's most radiant and versatile stars thanks to unforgettable performances in such films as Starman, The Fisher King, and, of course, The Big Lebowski. In the wake of a phenomenal performance in the 2009 drama Crazy Heart, Bridges prepared to follow in the footsteps of John Wayne by reprising the role of Rooster Cogburn in The Coen Brother's True Grit, and waged a valiant fight to escape from the mainframe in Tron: Legacy. An avid photographer, Bridges assembles a photo book recounting each production he is involved in, and presents a copy to each member of the crew once production has wrapped. Peter Bogdanovich, Robert Duvall, Terry Gilliam, Karen Allen, T. Bone Burnett and others all weight in on what they believe makes Bridges an indispensable part of Hollywood history, while Levin reveals how the star's unwavering devotion to family has helped him to remain perpetually grounded in a business where countless others have gotten lost in the ether.

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