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Andre The Giant HBO doc


flyonthewall2983
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So this has been talked about for awhile, at first with ESPN as part of their 30 For 30 series, but switched over to HBO when Bill Simmons left. HBO Sports have made some amazing documentaries over the years, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how they do this, their first full-length doc on professional wrestling. Andre was given the A&E Biography treatment in the late 90's, and while it gave some glimpse into the man inside, I expect (especially given the crazy amount of access given to Simmons and the director by WWE and research gone into it) this to go much deeper.

 

Deeper perhaps on a personal level, but I also expect this to do what the Flair doc did to a degree which was make something for the HBO audience as much as the WWE (or long-time wrestling) fans.

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I worry about the degree to which it will be co-opted by WWE. But I guess they had to be onboard for footage/access reasons. Also skeptical of anything in which Shoemaker is treated as a wrestling expert. But I hope they nail it.

If they claim that Hogan, at WMIII, was the first to slam Andre, it will kill the whole thing for me regardless of how good the rest of it is.

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  • 1 month later...

To be honest, I was kinda iffy about the doc after the teaser and trailer. It seemed it was going to be a cool film that didn't have much stuff we didn't already know (similar to the Flair 30 for 30). And with Bill Simmons hyping up Shoemaker as a major player in this, I wasn't that excited.

 

But Simmons had the Masked Man on his podcast on Monday and they completely sold me on it. Shoemaker even admitted his book had mistakes - first time I'm hearing him admit that - and that the director just didn't let anything like that happen in his movie.

 

Seems Andre will truly get the HBO quality treatment.

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I don't have the language skills to do much with this, but someone (jetlag?) should look at what's available for ina.fr on the premium section and whether or not it's more readily out there. I realize this is sort of a "low hanging fruit" thing relatively but who knows, right? It looks like there are at least 3-4 large chunks (40 mins) from the 60s.

 

http://www.ina.fr/premium/sport/autres-sports

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Well, this guy was breaking kayfabe in 1960 :

 

http://www.ina.fr/video/CAF90023807/la-minute-de-verite-d-un-catcheur-video.html

 

Tells pretty much everything about it (the only stuff that's not credible is when he says 50% of the matches actually turn into real fights because guys don't work well together). His conclusion is that it doesn't matter anyway because even as a worker who knows everything about the tricks, he still can really get into it like he would at a movie or a play. Yep. 1960.

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I don't have the language skills to do much with this, but someone (jetlag?) should look at what's available for ina.fr on the premium section and whether or not it's more readily out there. I realize this is sort of a "low hanging fruit" thing relatively but who knows, right? It looks like there are at least 3-4 large chunks (40 mins) from the 60s.

 

http://www.ina.fr/premium/sport/autres-sports

 

Actually most of this stuff has been made avialable before. Since that Andre stuff isn't on the website I assume the guy uploading this stuff must have worked some serious voodoo magic to obtain it from the archive. There is a bit of talk about the french footage and the difficulty in getting it from the archive in the french catch thread.

 

Slightly off topic, but what the hell is up with video archives not wanting to give out ancient wrestling footage? I contacted an austrian archive about video footage from Graz they supposedly had and they didn't even bother to respond further. Atleast we got all the Chicago archive stuff.

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I don't have the language skills to do much with this, but someone (jetlag?) should look at what's available for ina.fr on the premium section and whether or not it's more readily out there. I realize this is sort of a "low hanging fruit" thing relatively but who knows, right? It looks like there are at least 3-4 large chunks (40 mins) from the 60s.

 

http://www.ina.fr/premium/sport/autres-sports

 

Those matches are on Youtube (Bob ALPRA's channel) :

1965 02 28 Gilbert Cesca et René Ben Chemoul vs. The Black Diamonds (Peter Ginsberg et John Foley)

1965 03 12 PEROU CONTRE FRANCE

1967 05 06 Bruno Asquini et Gilbert Leduc vs. Les Blousons Noirs (Claude Gessat et Marcel Mannevau)

 

Four matches I don't think were on Youtube

Anton Tejero vs. Walter Bordes (1967/08/12)

Michel SAULNIER (27 ans) vs. Petit Prince (24 ans) - BATMAN vs. Teddy BOY (1967/09/30)

Jean Corne vs. Jacky Richard - the ring is in a filled swimming pool ! (1977/08/07)

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Brian Koppelman, one of the creators of Showtime's Billions (and director of the Jimmy Connors 30 For 30, which I liked quite a lot) was on Simmons' podcast last week and talked about the doc. He was shown the final cut and sang it's praises pretty high. It's clear going into this that this is almost as much about the death of the territories as is about Andre, which makes me doubly fascinated in this. Koppelman said he wants to create a show about that period of time, and went as far as actually having a meeting with Vince (he says in the doc this is the most human he has ever seen Vince, BTW) about it.

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Meltzer gave the doc a positive review overall but poked some holes in the Shoemaker-narrated history of the territories and WWF expansion. Which feeds into a lot of my reservations.

 

Anytime I listen to Simmons or Shoemaker discuss wrestling history, it's so obvious they don't know what the fuck they're talking about. So I'm sure the core story of the doc will work, but I suspect it will be a little more frustrating for hardcore fans than for casuals. Of course, that's pretty much always the case with something like this.

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So I'm sure the core story of the doc will work, but I suspect it will be a little more frustrating for hardcore fans than for casuals. Of course, that's pretty much always the case with something like this.

 

Exactly. At this point, it bothers me more that I know people that don't watch wrestling or know anything about it that will watch this and see the presentation of how things evolved and have no idea what the mistakes/falsehoods are. And though as non-fans they won't absorb it, when you hear the same narratives over and over...

 

It's minor at this point in my own viewing, I know history is written by the victors. Hopefully it's not that bad.

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Meltzer gave the doc a positive review overall but poked some holes in the Shoemaker-narrated history of the territories and WWF expansion. Which feeds into a lot of my reservations.

 

Anytime I listen to Simmons or Shoemaker discuss wrestling history, it's so obvious they don't know what the fuck they're talking about. So I'm sure the core story of the doc will work, but I suspect it will be a little more frustrating for hardcore fans than for casuals. Of course, that's pretty much always the case with something like this.

 

Where did this Shoemaker guy emerge from? I know he's been around for years now but it seems like he had a few years of relevance in like 2013 then faded away again.

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Meltzer gave the doc a positive review overall but poked some holes in the Shoemaker-narrated history of the territories and WWF expansion. Which feeds into a lot of my reservations.

 

Anytime I listen to Simmons or Shoemaker discuss wrestling history, it's so obvious they don't know what the fuck they're talking about. So I'm sure the core story of the doc will work, but I suspect it will be a little more frustrating for hardcore fans than for casuals. Of course, that's pretty much always the case with something like this.

 

Where did this Shoemaker guy emerge from? I know he's been around for years now but it seems like he had a few years of relevance in like 2013 then faded away again.

 

He started writing wrestling columns for Deadspin under a pseudonym, and Simmons hired him to write for Grantland. Since then he's become one of Bill's guys - Shoemaker works for Simmons' site The Ringer as an editor of some kind in addition to his writing. It's a shame he's so ignorant of non-WWE approved history as (IMO, of course) he's a very good writer.

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