War and Remembrance (TV miniseries)

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War and Remembrance
DVD Cover
Miniseries DVD Cover
Genre War
Created by Herman Wouk
Written by Dan Curtis
Earl W. Wallace
Herman Wouk
Directed by Dan Curtis
Starring Robert Mitchum
Jane Seymour
Hart Bochner
Victoria Tennant
Narrated by William Woodson
Composer(s) Bob Cobert
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English and German, Hebrew, Polish, Russian
No. of episodes 12
Production
Executive producer(s) Dan Curtis
Producer(s) Barbara Steele
Editor(s) John F. Burnett
Peter Zinner
Location(s) Auschwitz, Montreal, USS New Jersey, many locations in Europe and United States
Cinematography Bernie Abramson
Running time 1620 minutes
Production company(s) ABC Circle Films
Dan Curtis Productions
Jadran Film
Paramount Television
Distributor Disney-ABC Domestic Television
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Original run November 13, 1988 (1988-11-13) – May 14, 1989 (1989-05-14)
Chronology
Preceded by The Winds of War

War and Remembrance is an American miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Herman Wouk. It is the sequel to highly successful The Winds of War.[1]

Plot[edit]

The television mini-series continues the story of the extended Henry family and the Jastrow family starting on December 15, 1941 and ending on August 7, 1945.

Parts I–VII
Part Title Original air date
I "December 15 - December 27, 1941" November 13, 1988 (November 13, 1988)
In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Victor "Pug" Henry is assigned the command of a Cruiser (the Task Force Flagship), son Warren is assigned as a fighter pilot on an aircraft carrier, while son Byron as already serving as an officer on a submarine. Pug asks his wife Rhoda to reconsider her divorce plans, even though he knows about her affair with Palmer Kirby, but Pug also gets a message from Pamela Tudsbury that she wants to rekindle their relationship. Berel Jastrow is captured by the Nazis as a prisoner of war and is taken to Auschwitz. In Naples, Italy, Natalie Henry, her son Louis, and her Uncle Aaron Jastrow await aboard a refugee boat bound for Palestine. Werner Beck, a German diplomat and Aaron's former student, convinces them to return to Siena.
II "January 27, 1942 - May 6, 1942" November 15, 1988 (November 15, 1988)
Leslie Slote, now working at the American Legation, receives secret Nazi documents from the Wannsee Conference, but his contact is killed before providing more authentication. Beck reports to Adolf Eichmann on his plans to get Aaron to make propaganda radio broadcasts favorable to the Axis powers. Natalie makes arrangements for them to escape Italy with an Italian Jewish family. Berel and other prisoners are forced to prepare Auschwitz for an inspection tour by Heinrich Himmler. During the tour, Himmler observes the gassing of a trainload of Dutch Jews.
III "May 26 - July 25, 1942" November 16, 1988 (November 16, 1988)
Pug and Warren participate in the Battle of Midway, but Warren is then killed during a clean-up mission. Pamela admits to Rhoda that she has feelings for Pug, but in the aftermath of Warren's death, she cannot break his lasting ties to Rhoda. Aaron and Natalie flee Italy.
IV "July 25 - November 2, 1942" November 17, 1988 (November 17, 1988)
Aaron and Natalie evade Beck and eventually escape to Marseilles, Vichy France. Rhoda tells Palmer that she has decided to stay with Pug. Byron, now serving as a diplomatic courier between Gibraltar and Vichy France, visits the American Consul General in Marseilles, who is arranging exit visas for Aaron and Natalie. Byron and Natalie reunite later that night.
V "November 2 - December 1, 1942" November 20, 1988 (November 20, 1988)
Byron and Natalie's reunion is brief, as he must return to duty. Still without the proper documents, Natalie decides to wait until it is safer to cross the border. However, Germany invades Vichy France, and Aaron and Natalie are eventually interned with other Jews. In North Africa, Alistair Tudsbury is killed when his jeep hits a landmine. At Auschwitz, Col. Paul Blobel is given a tour of the newly constructed crematoriums, and is then given Berel's work group. At the Battle of Tassafaronga (part of the Guadalcanal Campaign), Pug is forced to abandon his ship after it is heavily damaged by Japanese forces.
VI "December 20, 1942 - April 3, 1943" November 22, 1988 (November 22, 1988)
President Roosevelt asks Pug to go to Moscow as a military aide. There, Pug tours the Russian Front and observes how the Soviet forces are using materials obtained via the Lend-Lease policy. Aaron and Natalie are eventually moved to Baden-Baden. After Aaron becomes ill, they are rushed to Paris for emergency surgery. While he recuperates, she works at an American Library, but is stunned when Beck finds her.
VII "April 3, 1943 - July 25, 1943" November 23, 1988 (November 23, 1988)
Berel and other prisoners are forced to dig up corpses as part of Col. Paul Blobel's Sonderaktion 1005 operation. In a flashback sequence, Blobel recalls to a lieutenant the events of Babi Yar. Berel eventually escapes. Byron's submarine torpedoes a large Japanese transport, but the sub's commander orders his crew to kill any survivors clinging to the lifeboats or in the water, causing Byron and the other executive officers to question the order. Beck takes Natalie to dinner and the opera, and explains how tenuous their situation is. Natalie tries to arrange to join Americans in Germany being taken under Swiss protection, but Beck stops them. Aaron, Natalie and Louis are sent on a train to Theresienstadt.
Parts VIII–XII: The Final Chapter
Part Title Original air date
VIII "November 25 1943 - May 16, 1944" May 7, 1989 (May 7, 1989)
Aaron, Natalie and Louis are interned at Theresienstadt, where Adolf Eichmann forces Aaron to become a Jewish Elder of the camp's "Cultural Council". Czech resistance fighters rescue Berel from an SS patrol. Pug and Rhoda eventually decide to divorce. Pug then asks Pamela to marry him.
IX "May 16, 1944 - June 10, 1944" May 8, 1989 (May 8, 1989)
Leslie Slote meets with French resistance leaders to organize uprisings against the Nazis, but is killed leading a raid of a German garrison. The Allies invade Normandy. Karl Rahm, Commandant of Theresienstadt, threatens to have Louis torn in half unless Natalie plays her part as a "happy Jew" during an upcoming Red Cross tour of the camp.
X "June 22 - October 28, 1944" May 9, 1989 (May 9, 1989)
Aaron and Natalie are forced to act as "happy Jews" during the Red Cross' tour of Theresienstadt. They then fake Louis' death as Berel and other Czech Resistance fighters smuggle him out of the camp. Aaron and Natalie are then put on a train to Auschwitz. Hitler survives the 20 July plot.
XI "October 28, 1944 - March 18, 1945" May 10, 1989 (May 10, 1989)
At Auschwitz, Aaron is sent to the gas chambers, while Natalie is allowed to live as a forced laborer. Byron leads a successful attack on an enemy tanker, but it makes him realize he is not a career officer. As Allied forces advance closer to Germany, Himmler orders all traces of the Holocaust, including Auschwitz, to be destroyed; Natalie becomes part of the prisoners that are evacuated and forced on a death march. As Nazi SS troops retreat from Czechoslovakia, they loot and burn farms as they go, capturing Berel, Louis, and other resistance fighters. The SS then gun down their prisoners, but Berel manages to shield Louis with his dying body.
XII "April 12 - August 7, 1945" May 14, 1989 (May 14, 1989)
Allied troops advance further into Germany. An American squad finds Natalie barely alive. Hitler commits suicide and Germany surrenders. Pug and Pamela marry. The Americans successfully test an atomic bomb. Byron visits Natalie, who is recuperating at a Paris hospital. Byron then searches for Louis throughout Europe, eventually locating him at an orphanage in England. On the day after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima, Byron reunites Natalie and Louis.

Cast[edit]

Several actors were changed between The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. Actor John Houseman played Aaron Jastrow in Winds of War, but was too frail for War and Remembrance's lengthy production schedule. He died of spinal cancer in 1988, the year War and Remembrance was broadcast. He was replaced by John Gielgud. Jane Seymour was cast as Mrs. Natalie Henry in place of Ali MacGraw after Seymour campaigned for the role and made a screen test. Dan Curtis was struck by her performance and immediately cast her in the vital role. Because the miniseries was shot out of sequence, producers could not cut Jane Seymour's hair for the scenes in the concentration camp. Make-up artists took shears to a full scalp wig for her to wear for those scenes instead.

The actor Jan-Michael Vincent, who played Byron Henry in the Winds of War, was busy in the American television series Airwolf as an action lead. It is hinted in the featurette on the Winds of War DVDs that Vincent's drinking made him difficult on set. He was replaced by Hart Bochner. Other major replacements include Sharon Stone as Janice, Leslie Hope as Madeline, Michael Woods as Warren, Robert Morley as Alistair Tudsbury, Barry Bostwick as Aster and Steven Berkoff replacing Gunther Meisner as Adolf Hitler. William Woodson again serves as narrator.

Production[edit]

Opening Title

Since Wouk was happy with the Winds of War adaptation, he allowed Dan Curtis to adapt the sequel as well. The story became a successful mini-series on the ABC television network in 1988, in which several main characters were played by different actors than in The Winds Of War.

It had to be broken into two segments, chapters I–VII and VIII–XII ("The Final Chapter") with a combined running time of about 30 hours. Former concentration-camp internee Branko Lustig was a producer on the series. The visual design and cinematography was praised for its unflinching presentation.

A major sponsor of the miniseries was Ford Motors. Another was Nike.

This huge two-part miniseries was said to have been the 'last of the miniseries.' War and Remembrance had a multi-year production timeline, and it took over ABC's broadcast schedule for two one-week periods in 1988 as well as 1989. Miniseries had been major events on American television, reserved for "important" stories like Jesus of Nazareth (1977) and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1968). Shortly after this period, cable television began the fragmentation of the United States broadcasting audience in earnest, leaving War and Remembrance as the last of the giant miniseries. In previous years, there were only the Big Three broadcasting networks in the United States, ABC, NBC and CBS.

The former's decision to dedicate two weeks of its broadcasting schedule to War and Remembrance was a big financial investment. It became the costliest single-story undertaking in United States television, costing $104 million and totalling 30 prime-time hours. There were also contractual restrictions on advertising: Herman Wouk had approval on all ads, and certain Holocaust sequences had to run uninterrupted.

Filmed from January 1986 to September 1987, the 1,492 page script (by Earl W. Wallace, Dan Curtis, and Herman Wouk) contained 2,070 scenes. There were 757 sets: 494 in Europe, including France, Italy, Austria, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, West Germany, England, and Poland, and 263 in the United States (including Hawaii) and Canada. There were 358 speaking parts in the script; 30,310 extras were employed in Europe and 11,410 in the United States. It was the first film production granted permission to film inside the Auschwitz concentration camp. Scenes set in Russia were filmed in Montreal in temperatures reaching 40 degrees below zero Celsius.

Members of the United States Army, stationed in Berchtesgaden, West Germany, at the time of the filming were hired as extras for some of the Eagle's Nest (Kehlsteinhaus) scenes. Several actual Auschwitz-Birkenau survivors were cast as extras for the Auschwitz-Birkenau selection sequence. The battleships USS New Jersey and USS Alabama, as well as the aircraft carrier USS Lexington were used for filming.

Although Paramount Television (production studio behind the original Winds of War series) was involved with this sequel, it was primarily an in-house production of ABC, which had also aired the original series. The rights to this series are now jointly owned by the Dan Curtis Estate, MPI Home Video, and The Walt Disney Company (current owners of ABC).

The miniseries underperformed ABC's ratings expectations, with the first chapter averaging an 18.6 Nielsen rating and a 29% viewer share.[2]

Reception[edit]

War and Remembrance received 15 Emmy Award nominations and won for best miniseries, special effects and single-camera production editing. The miniseries was nominated for Emmy Awards for best actor (John Gielgud), actress (Jane Seymour) and supporting actress (Polly Bergen). John Gielgud and Barry Bostwick both won Golden Globe awards.

References[edit]

  1. ^ War and Remembrance at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Sharbutt, Jay. "'War' Proves a Ratings Misfire". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 

External links[edit]