Updated at 9:52 a.m. Jan. 5, 2018, with KERA's The Big Screen podcast.
You get the feeling Ben Bradlee would love this moment. The former Washington Post executive editor had a nose for political scandal and a street fighter's sensibility toward abuse of power. He's also front and center in a pair of new films that celebrate not only him but also the First Amendment.
First comes The Newspaperman, an HBO documentary that premieres Monday. The film covers Bradlee's hard-charging life in full, including his fight to have the Post publish the Pentagon Papers. Those documents, which chronicled the lies told by one president after another about the Vietnam War, are the focus of The Post.
Directed by some guy named Steven Spielberg, the film stars Tom Hanks as Bradlee and Meryl Streep as former Post publisher Katharine Graham. (The Hanks version is a little less brash than Jason Robards' Oscar-winning performance as Bradlee in All the President's Men). The National Board of Review just honored the film and its two stars as the best of the year. It arrives in late December. We'll have more on The Post, Bradlee and Graham then.