Steven Spielberg, Bel Powley and the Coen Brothers

Nate Bloom blogs on this week's Jews in the News.


Rosie and the Riveters, Fargo & a Who-Done It?

“Masters of the Air” is a “major” Apple+ limited series (9 episodes) that begins streaming on Friday, Jan. 26. New episodes are released on successive Fridays.

The series is based on an acclaimed 2006 historical study  entitled “Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought and The Air War Against Nazi Germany.” It was written by Donald L. Miller, a Lafayette Univ. history professor.

STEVEN SPIELBERG, 77, and Tom Hanks are the main producers of “Masters”. I guess they have great confidence in “Masters”. It cost more than $250M to make.

There are over 70 members in the cast list. Almost all of them have very few credits. Clearly, the series’ creators wanted “newbies’, not famous faces.  

Two “name” (British) actors are in the series---Austin Butler, who played Elvis in the bio-musical “Elvis” (2022), plays an important British officer and BEL POWLEY, 31 (“King of Staten Island”) has a guest role.

I’ve read Miller’s book and I can tell you that US Army Air Force bomber pilot Robert “Rosie” Rosenthal (1917-2007) is prominent in the book and is a star character in the Apple series. Rosenthal entered the service as a lieutenant and left as a lieutenant colonel. He became a squadron leader and his men proudly called themselves “Rosie’s Riveters”.

“Rosie” won every U.S. medal for heroism that can be awarded, other than the Medal of Honor and many of his heroic acts were so extraordinary that they make great drama. No doubt, some of these heroic acts will be in the series.

I could stop right here and leave it to you to read more about Rosenthal on-line. Or you might choose to be surprised as you watch the series. But I want to ‘entice’ everyone to subscribe to Apple+ just to see ‘Rosenthal scenes’.

So, here’s part of why Rosenthal is so “special”: Born in Brooklyn, he was a “newly-minted” lawyer when he enlisted right after Pearl Harbor (Dec. 1941). He flew the “standard” 25 missions and then volunteered to fly another 27 missions.

In  1943, 13 planes took off to bomb the Nazis. Rosenthal, on just his third mission, piloted his shot-up plane and brought it back to England.  His plane was the only one to return.

In early 1944, he bailed out over France and made his way back to England with French partisan help.

In Feb. 1945,  Rosenthal led a mission that bombed Berlin (a bomb his squadron dropped happened to kill Roland Freisler, the most notorious Nazi judge). After the bomb-drop, Rosenthal flew his shot-up plane to nearby Russian lines and he supervised his crew as they parachuted down, one-by-one.  He got out seconds before his plane blew-up.

After the war, Rosenthal was a Nuremburg trials prosecutor (!). His tasks included interrogating Herman Goering in advance of Goering’s trial.

Nate Mann, who plays Rosenthal, is far from famous. Here’s what I could find out about this good-looking fellow. He’s 24; went to a private high school in a Philadelphia suburb; is a Julliard Drama School graduate; plays cello and sings (baritone); he’s been in one Broadway play (2020); and has had two small film roles.

I’m pretty sure Mann is Jewish, but I can’t confirm that now. I suspect that a lot of information about the cast will come-out when they do interviews, this week, and next month.

“Fargo” is a Hulu anthology series that is inspired by the hit COEN brothers 1996 movie of the same name. Each season runs 10 episodes, but has a different premise and its own cast.  The first two seasons and the just-concluded 5th season got the best reviews.

Juno Temple is just marvelous as the lead character, Dorothy, in the 5th season. Watch the first episode of the 5th season--and just 10 minutes into the second episode--and you’ll see how surprising, and interesting Dorothy is. JENNIFER JASON LEIGH, 61, is great as Dorothy’s very rich and very nasty mother-in-law.

Also on Hulu is the original series “Death and Other Details” (began on Jan. 16 ). This 10-episode series is an old-fashioned “who done it” mystery. A murdered body is found in a “locked-door”, luxury ocean liner room. The main suspect is Imogene Scott, a very attractive woman who happens to be a known thief.

On the ship is famous detective Rufus Coteworth (MANDY PATINKIN, 71). Of course, he is drawn into solving the murder. (Reviews of the first episodes are mostly good, but not great).


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