War and Remembrance (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
John Gielgud
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 Dietrich Lohmann
Running time 1620 minutes
Production company(s) ABC Circle Films
Dan Curtis Productions
Jadran Film
Distributor Disney-ABC Domestic Television
Release
Original channel ABC
Original release November 13, 1988 (1988-11-13) – May 14, 1989 (1989-05-14)
Chronology
Preceded by The Winds of War

War and Remembrance is a 1988-89 American miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Herman Wouk. It is the sequel to highly successful The Winds of War.

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 15–27, 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 and taken to Auschwitz in Nazi occupied Poland. 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 Franklin D. 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 (replacing Deborah Winters), Leslie Hope as Madeline (replacing Lisa Eilbacher), Michael Woods as Warren (replacing Ben Murphy), Robert Morley as Alistair Tudsbury (replacing Michael Logan), Barry Bostwick as Aster (replacing Joseph Hacker), and Steven Berkoff as Adolf Hitler (replacing Günter Meisner). William Woodson again serves as narrator.

Preproduction[edit]

Opening Title

War and Remembrance had a multi-year production timeline. It was the most expensive single-story undertaking in United States television history up to that point, costing $104 million and taking over ABC's broadcast schedule for two one-week periods in 1988 and 1989, totaling 30 prime-time hours.

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). Up to that point, television had been dominated by the Big Three broadcasting networks in the United States, ABC, NBC and CBS. Shortly after, cable television began the fragmentation of the United States broadcasting audience in earnest, leaving War and Remembrance the last of the giant miniseries.

Because Herman Wouk was happy with Dan Curtis's adaptation of The Winds of War , he allowed Curtis to adapt the sequel as well. Paramount Television, the studio behind The Winds of War, decided not to produce the sequel and sold the rights to ABC, which had only aired the original series. ABC first planned a $65 million, 20 hour series, but when they went to Curtis, he said he wanted to make a $100 million, 30 hour series, which they eventually greenlit.[1] There were also contractual restrictions on advertising: Herman Wouk had approval over all ads and refused to allow any advertising for personal care products, foods, or other ABC programming. Two major eventual sponsors were Ford Motors and Nike. In addition, Wouk required that certain Holocaust sequences run uninterrupted by commercials of any kind. ABC's standards and practices division also agreed to an unprecedented waiver allowing frontal nudity during the lengthy Holocaust sequences, running parental advisories before any episodes beginning before 8pm.[2] The series was nearly called off in 1985, just as it was nearing the completion of $16 million in preproduction, when ABC was bought by Capital Cities.[3]

Production[edit]

During preproduction, Dan Curtis lobbied the Polish Communist government tirelessly for permission to film on the grounds of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and after two years was eventually allowed, making War and Remembrance the first major commercial motion picture to film there. His request was aided by the intercession of the Polish state TV network, and the support of Poland's preeminent WWII expert, who approved the script.[4] Curtis said that he was allowed to film at Auschwitz on condition that the script not have "one word about Polish anti-Semitism" during the war.[5] Filming on the miniseries began with production at Auschwitz from January to May 1986. When the Chernobyl nuclear disaster happened nearby, causing legitimate fears of fallout spreading across Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, Curtis called in nuclear scientists from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna to give the location a clean bill of health, but allowed any crew members still afraid to wait in Munich for the production to return. The crematoriums were rebuilt adjacent to the original site, from the original German blueprints, because they had been demolished by the Nazis at the end of the war. Both Curtis and star Jane Seymour contracted pneumonia in the the brutal sub-zero temperatures there.[6] Several actual Auschwitz-Birkenau survivors were cast as extras for the Auschwitz-Birkenau selection sequence and former Auschwitz internee Branko Lustig, later a two-time Oscar-winning producer, served as assistant director on the series.

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.

The series shot in Yugoslavia in Zagreb and Osijek, where the old town district of Tvrđa, a Habsburg star-shaped fortress, was used as a primary location, doubling for the almost identical fortress town of Theresienstadt, in Czechoslovakia, which was converted by the Nazis to a Jewish ghetto. Filming took place in France throughout Paris, including the Paris Opera, where a scene from The Marriage of Figaro was staged with a 42-piece symphony orchestra and 500 extras,[7]and Lourdes, where the production took over the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes; in West Germany in Baden-Baden and Berchtesgaden, where members of the United States Army, stationed nearby were hired as extras for some of the scenes shot at Hitler's Eagle's Nest; in Rome and Siena, Italy; London and Cambridge, England; and Vienna, Austria. Scenes set in Russia were filmed in Montreal in temperatures reaching 40 degrees below zero Celsius.

In the US, the production shot extensively in and around Los Angeles, as well as in Long Beach, California aboard the USS New Jersey, in Bremerton, Washington, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lexington, in Pensacola, Florida, in Mobile, Alabama, aboard the USS Alabama, and throughout Hawaii, where a large group of warships were assembled for filming at Waianae.[8]

Airing[edit]

The miniseries was originally intended to run on consecutive nights in 1989, but the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike caused ABC to move the first half, chapters I–VII, up to air in the fall of 1988, with the episodes no longer airing on consecutive nights.[9] The miniseries underperformed ABC's ratings expectations, with the first chapter averaging an 18.6 Nielsen rating and a 29% viewer share.[10] Dan Curtis blamed the lower ratings partly on the confusing airdates, saying in a 2002 interview that ABC "skipped Saturdays and Mondays, the viewers lost the thread, and they didn't even put up a sign saying 'To Be Continued' at the end of the first half."[11]

Due to the lower than expected ratings for the first half, the second half, chapters VIII–XII (marketed by ABC as "The Final Chapter"), had several hours cut before airing.[12] The second half was also mixed and aired in mono, instead of the stereo used on the first half. This was not a cost-cutting measure, but the result of a technical issue encountered with airing the stereo mix on the first half.[13]

Capital Cities/ABC lost an estimated $30-$40 million on the production.[14] 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).

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]

External links[edit]