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How to Watch the New Ken Burns Hemingway Documentary

by Ian Spelling
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Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s documentaries include The Vietnam War, Baseball, Jazz, Frank Lloyd Wright, The War, and Prohibition, which have garnered critical acclaim and 19 Emmy nominations. Their latest collaboration is Hemingway, a six-hour, three-part film that explores the life and work of the brilliant but troubled Ernest Hemingway, author of such novels as For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea, and A Farewell to Arms. PBS will air and stream the trio of episodes beginning on April 5 at 8 p.m.

According to a press release, Burns and Novick crafted Hemingway by weaving together the author’s biography with excerpts from his fiction, non-fiction, and personal correspondence. The episodes detail the painstaking process by which Hemingway created some of the most important works of fiction in American letters, drawing on rarely seen photographs and archival footage, interviews with literary scholars, and unprecedented access to original manuscripts. For example, the first episode, titled “A Writer (1899-1929),” will revisit Hemingway’s youth, as he volunteers for the Red Cross during World War I and, after moving to Paris, finds success with his second novel, A Farewell to Arms.’

According to Deadline, the filmmakers secured the talents of notable names to provide the voices of Hemingway and key people in his life. Jeff Daniels does the speaking for Hemingway, while the writer’s four wives are voiced by Meryl Streep, Keri Russell, Patricia Clarkson, and Mary-Louise Parker.

PBS will air the second and third episodes, “The Avatar” and “The Blank Page,” on April 6 and 7, respectively. Note that not every PBS market shows programming at the same time, so be sure to check your local listings or visit the PBS/Hemingway site.

After April 7, you should be able to stream all the episodes right here.

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