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Monday, April 30, 2012

Captains And The Kings (1976)

Covering the years 1857 to 1912, a young Irish immigrant (Richard Jordan) arrives in America with a younger brother and sister and a determination to become one of the richest and most powerful in America. He will stop at nothing to build a dynasty that will see his son in the White House as the first Irish Catholic president. He succeeds beyond his wildest dreams but with a tragic legacy that nearly decimates his family. Based on the historical best seller by Taylor Caldwell, the nine hour film takes as fact the far fetched premise of a "shadow government", a behind the scenes cabal consisting of a handful of the richest most powerful men on the planet make decisions regarding world leaders, wars and economic conditions. The film also adds elements of the Joseph Kennedy dynasty as well as a soupcon of Howard Hughes to the mix. It's like a less lurid version of Harold Robbins' THE CARPETBAGGERS really. But it's near irresistible page turner of a movie encompassing murder, blackmail, incest, bigotry, insanity, bigamy, conspiracies, just about everything from the assassination of Lincoln to the sinking of the Titanic. The film runs out of steam in the last ninety minutes but it was a Hell of a ride. Directed by Douglas Heyes and Allen Reisner with a good Elmer Bernstein score. The massive cast includes Patty Duke (superb in an Emmy winning role), Henry Fonda, Ann Sothern, Jane Seymour, Celeste Holm, John Houseman, Barbara Parkins, Vic Morrow, Joanna Pettet, Perry King, Robert Vaughn, Charles Durning, Beverly D'Angelo, Blair Brown, John Carradine, William Prince, Harvey Jason and Neville Brand.

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