Something that's stood out in many of TSN's Engraved On A Nation series of CFL documentaries is how they've been unafraid to deal with dark subjects. From the tragic crash of Flight 810 to the rough upbringings of Anthony Calvillo and Chuck Ealey to Robert Cote's stories of sweeping Grey Cup parade floats for FLQ bombs, there have been plenty of serious, game-transcending issues discussed. The Photograph, which first airs Friday on TSN at 7:30 p.m. Eastern (and will be shown throughout this Remembrance Day weekend, also airing Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern on CTV Two and Sunday at noon Eastern on some CTV channels), also goes along that path, and its subject matter is fascinating. Here's a trailer for it:
The film focuses on the Toronto Royal Canadian Air Force Hurricanes, who defeated the Winnipeg RCAF Bombers 8-5 in the 1942 Grey Cup, the first-ever non-civilian Grey Cup game. Many of the Hurricanes' players, pilots in training, completed their training and were sent overseas after the game, and a lot of them didn't come back.
One Hurricanes' player who stayed behind was Jake Gaudaur, who served as a flight instructor in Canada during the war and later went on to become the CFL's legendary fifth commissioner, serving in that role from 1968-1984. The film focuses on Gaudaur's daughters, Jackie and Diane, who were always curious why their father treasured a 1942 team photo so much. In an interview with 55-Yard Line earlier this week, director Manfred Becker said that titular photograph proved a way into the story, and a way to start to get a sense of what the Hurricanes' experience meant to Gaudaur.
"As we were able to reconstruct that season, that story through the eyes of Jackie and Diane, we were also able to start understanding their father," Becker said.
Pulling together the film posed a unique challenge for Becker, as there's extremely little video and photo footage from 1942. He said that made it interesting, though; by chasing leads and interviewing players' relatives, he was able to put pieces together.
"It's like a detective story," he said. "The story had to be constructed in the cutting room."Read More »from Interview: Manfred Becker talks about “The Photograph,” conflict, family and silence