“We still have not come to grips with World War II,” asserted newsman Tom Brokaw, the author of several books on the subject. “It was the largest event in the history of mankind.” Moderator of a panel on Monday night following Netflix’s preview screening of its series, Five Came Back, at Alice Tully Hall, Brokaw shot questions to Guillermo Del Toro, Lawrence Kasdan, George Stevens, Jr., the series’ director Laurent Bouzereau, and the author Mark Harris on whose book the documentary is based. One would have to agree with Brokaw. The series shines a light on little known film work of five midcentury highly successful Hollywood directors: John Huston, John Ford, George Stevens, William Wyler, and Frank Capra. Each left lucrative careers to document what was going on in Europe during the war, with life changing results as Del Toro, Kashdan, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and Paul Greengrass attest in this riveting documentary series.
This gripe was all in keeping with Guillermo Del Toro’s observation for all, referring to the bravery of the five who came back: Del Toro said, When we are told to talk only about our films and keep quiet about politics, we have every right—even an obligation—to talk about politics.