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As some of you may know I've been watching the old miniseries Winds of War. After it ended abruptly, I moved on to the sequel, War and Remembrance. Two things I knew before I started watching it:

1. That I'd seen it before.
2. That I'd hated it.

Why am I watching it again? Maybe for the same reason I try to read The Scarlet Letter every 10 years--to see if I hate it less? Actually I don't "remember" movies. I remember I've seen them, just not the details. Even now it's like watching W&R for the first time. I don't remember a thing.

I do, however, remember now why I hated it.


Not only is it boring--hours and hours of sailors wandering around on ships (should we blow up the japs? yeah. no. wait. here they come. fire! no wait! run! go get me a cigarette) and hours and hours of Jewish immigrants wandering through Italy (we have to escape! okay let's go. wait. we can't. when? later. okay. here come the gestapo! hide! no wait. false alarm. go make me some soup)--but it's crappy writing.

You hear me? CRAPPY WRITING! And this is why:

Remember how I bitched about the stupid characters in this movie though I DID admit (somewhere) that it's the stupidity of such characters that kept the story (and other stories) interesting? Oh my God. It's so true.

My apologizes to Ali McGraw: Though I doubt anyone ever considered your acting worthy of an Academy Award, I didn't realize how much you brought to this miniseries until your character Natalie was replaced with Jane Seymour. I am not saying Jane Seymour is worse than you. (OK, people--no matter how many times I re-word that last sentence, it's going to offend either Jane Seymour or Ali McGraw; I'm leaving it as is.)

Ali McGraw, they say, was too old for the part by the time they made the sequel. Frankly, she was too for the first one. Attitude wise, she was a perfect Natalie: Passionate, snarky, she put up with NO crap. What do they do? First they replace her with Seymour who, in the looks department, is about as believable as a Polish Jew as Whoopi Goldberg. Next, they turn her into the biggest ethnic Mary Sue on the face of the planet.

(As an aside, they also replaced Briny because Jan-Michael Vincent was A. also too old, and B. unreliable, and you know what THAT means)

I realize the author helped write the screenplay. So, was it senility? Lots of cash? Blame it on the director? WHAT???

Natalie in Winds of War tells an SS officer her name is "Mona Lisa" and practically flips him off.

Natalie in War and Remembrance whimpers to her supposed Israeli rescuer: "Oh, can't we leave tonight? There's a big bad maaaan here! I don't like the way he looooks at me! I am so afraid he's going to sneak into my room tonight and have his nasty old waaay with me!"

Ali McGraw's Natalie would've waited up for the dude with a butcher knife under her pillow.

What am I getting at? Why is this "crappy writing?" CONSISTENCY IN CHARACTERS. Herman Wouk wrote a masterpiece. It wouldn't be considered a masterpiece if everyone who read it threw it across the room, frustrated with wishy-washy characterizations. I don't think it's entirely unfair to compare novel writing with screenwriting; you still have characters that your audience wants--needs--to connect to. Maybe a lot of this does have to do with the director. It's Dan Curtis, after all: The king of visible booms, and prop boys skulking in the background.

Also, this running-from-the-Nazis thing has gone on way too long. This series is ENDLESS! I'm ready to drop the atomic bomb myself. Better yet, drop a dime on Natalie. ANYTHING to end this movie! Sill I keep watching it.

Go figure.

 photo youmockmypaingif_zps21561087.gif


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 23rd, 2013 04:21 am (UTC)
I am for nuking them all! End the pain...and the bad characterization. And here you slip seamlessly into my current OCD (you know of which speak, mwaa haa haa)... literary masterpieces are such odd creatures. Masterpiece. And hideously boring. Doesn't it seem like a bit of a paradox?

Let me know if it ever improves. I guarantee I shall not be watching.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 03:32 pm (UTC)
Got through the second season. Debating whether to hit season 3...
Gwen E Hoss
Jul. 19th, 2013 06:22 pm (UTC)
War and Remembrance.
Well, I never found it boring.
Jul. 19th, 2013 10:43 pm (UTC)
Re: War and Remembrance.
I've gone 3 months without watching it any further. I'm starting to miss it...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


Jeannine Garsee

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