A few months ago I watched the first episode of The Last Movie Stars (HBO Max, 7.21), a six-part Ethan Hawke documentary about Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward that seemed, based on episode #1, to be a celebration piece — a portrait of a fairly wonderful, for the most part glorious relationship.

I posted my understanding of the six-part doc series around 10 days ago.

Paul and Joanne first met in ’53 or thereabouts, got married in 1958 and stayed together for 50 years. Paul died on 9.26.08.

Hawke’s admiration for Newman-Woodward is upfront and unfettered, and his fascination with the transformative acting world of New York in the 1950s is fully conveyed. But this seems to basically be a valentine doc, and having dug into Shawn Levy‘s “Paul Newman: A Life” (’09), a very thoroughly researched and written biography…I shouldn’t say more but the basic approach seems to have been one of serious admiration.

I’ve since been told that this entirely isn’t the case. I’m told that Hawke doesn’t mention the name of a journalist, Nancy Bacon, with whom Newman had an affair in ’68 and ’69, but the affair is definitely mentioned. It’s also acknowledged that Newman was a functioning alcoholic, and that the booze was a real problem for a while. Woodward even kicked Newman out of their Westport home at one point, or so the story goes.

So I’ll be marathoning it starting tomorrow.