Overview: Before Marv Albert and Bob Costas, there was Marty Glickman. A gifted Jewish-American athlete who was denied the chance to represent the U.S. at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he went on to become one of the most revered and influential sportscasters in history, pioneering many of the techniques, phrases and programming innovations that are commonplace in sports reporting today.
Featuring archival footage and interviews with such notables as Marv Albert, Bob Costas, Bill Bradley, Jim Brown, Frank Gifford, Larry King, Jerry Stiller, New York Giants co-owner John Mara and others, the film tells the story of a man who overcame prejudice to forge a remarkable career, setting the gold standard for sports broadcasters past, present and future.
Expectations: This documentary could or should have been an HBO Sports documentary. That division of the company is under new management and its documentary films are not the focal point right now so, this film flies under the HBO Documentary Film banner instead. It is a good thing that it is that way because I tend to avoid the sports documentaries live and catch them later on HBOGo. The only reason for that is because one cannot watch and review everything. But, since this is marketed as a film under the HBO Documentary office I am all over it.
Luckily, for me, a documentary about the man behind sports commentary sounds like fun. The Trailer clearly indicates an athletic man who never gave up and pursued his love of sports in all its facets and paved the way for all the sports broadcasters to come. No matter what the sport whether it is basketball, football, Olympic Games, etc. the commentators flesh out the event as it unfolds for the viewer or listener. It will be interesting to learn how Marty Glickman became a carried out the role as the pioneer of sports broadcasting.
Gut Reaction: Wow, what a man and what a nice way to tribute him in a crisp, informative, inventive documentary. Writer, director and producer James L. Freedman mixes history, interview, testimony, archival footage and graphics to take viewers on the journey that is Glickman’s life. It is all well contained in 84 minute runtime.
I don’t know which phase of his life was more interesting. In his pre-broadcast days, (high school, collegiate & Olympic sports period) his life was exciting and complex. It does not just showcase his prowess on the playing field but offers great promise, regret, deception, prejudice and political tension. Then there is his broadcast career. Remember, this guy is the first jock to make a long-lasting transition to the broadcast booth. I love the fact that the vernacular that Glickman coined is still being heard in the biz today. Even during this portion of his life he faced scandal and hard times. In trying to make a living he bounced around from one sports venue to the next and always left his mark in the wake. GLICKMAN manages to capture all this deftly and smoothly.
I am even old enough to know Marty Glickman. In the 70’s he joined the then fledging cable network called HOME BOX OFFICE. Mr. G. was the first person to be heard on air on HBO, as a member of HBO SPORTS and covered early sports events including HBO’s Wimbledon Tennis coverage starting in 1975.
In Conclusion: GLICKMAN is a well constructed documentary (by Freedman a first-time documentary filmmaker) about the well constructed life of athlete turned sports broadcaster and all around sports fan Marty Glickman. As biographies go this one proves a most fascinating one to take in.
Other HBO air dates are 08.29 at 4:30pm; 08.30 at 12:10am; 09.01 at 11;15am; 09.04 at 09.04am 09.09 at 8:00am; 09.10 at 5:15am and 09.14 at 4:30pm. It can also be seen on HBO2 and on HBOGO.