The latest from Showtime and producer Ross Greenburg is a don’t-miss.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News wrote his column on the documentary.
But after he joined Showtime last March, Greenburg decided to go back and serve as a driving force behind “Against The Tide” with George Roy and Steve Stern as key storytellers.
“We only devoted about six to seven minutes on that game (in the HBO documentary), and that just didn’t do justice to the depths of the story,” Greenburg explained. “It was much more intriguing and complex. It needed the full treatment.
“To me, it remains as fascinating a story now as it was then. But it’s really a 12-year process of how it happened for Bear Bryant, and how it finally unfolded with the help of his friend, John McKay. That’s a whole other story, too.”
Here’s the official rundown from Showtime:
Did University of Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant schedule the historic 1970 showdown with the University of Southern California as a statement against integration? “AGAINST THE TIDE,” a full-length documentary examining the subject and the controversy surrounding one of the most important college football games in history, premieres this Friday, Nov. 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.
SHOWTIME Sports presented a private screening of upcoming documentary “AGAINST THE TIDE” Friday night at Cobb Theaters in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The feature-length film, which premieres this Friday, Nov. 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME, paints a vivid picture of Bryant, the state of the turbulent South during the Civil Rights Movement, and the 1960’s era football program at the University of Alabama, one of collegiate athletics’ most dominant programs in any sport.
In attendance at the screening were Executive Vice President and General Manager of SHOWTIME Sports Stephen Espinoza, Executive Producer Ross Greenburg, Civil Rights activist Percy Jones. former Alabama quarterback who led the Crimson Tide during the 1970 game Scott Hunter, former Alabama federal judge U.W. Clemon, and former Alabama State Senator Fred Horn.
The following are key quotes from the screening:
“When I was a freshman there were 62 black students out of 13,000 students. Now when I come back here 45 years later, I see the progress that has been made.”
“It takes a lot of courage for people in television to go back and do these stories. It doesn’t happen so easily. When old stories are rich like this they need to be told. I thank Stephen Espinoza personally for giving me the opportunity to tell this one and many more.”
“When we do these stories and then we put them together, you’re always thinking of all these people that helped us make it. You want them to sit in a room like this and screen it, and when the credits roll at the end, to have them say, ‘that’s the story.’ As long as you get their confirmation that you did it right, that’s all I need. Then I can sleep at night. If it becomes entertaining and grabs at your heart, then we’ve done our jobs. But at the end of the day, if you’ve told the story of the subjects that lived it, then that’s all you can really do.”
“Over time, stories like this tend to become over-simplified. You tend to lose the complexities and the subtleties. This game didn’t integrate Alabama football, as Ross clearly points out. There were already steps in place, but over time those maybe outside the state of Alabama looked at this game and said, ‘that’s the game that made Alabama football become integrated.’ Even though you’re telling a story of decades, it’s a very personal story. Hearing Scott Hunter and Percy Jones talk candidly and tell a very personal story, or hearing Jimmy Jones talk about players taking weapons to the game – it puts you in the moment in a very real way. That gets lost over time if the story is not retold.”