Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hello, Columbus




Why watch Winds of War, the made-for-TV 'saga' from the 80s, a multi-hour mini-series, extended to yet more multi-hours as War and Remembrance, both titles coming from Herman Wouk best-selling novels of the time?

1) Ali McGraw. Flat-voiced as she always was, nevertheless good-looking with marvelous legs. I think her 'dark beauty' satisfied someone's idea of a passable 'Jewish look', so her success earlier as Brenda, the Jewish Princess, in Goodbye, Columbus, led to the role here as Natalie Jastrow. She works her nostrils and puts up with nobody's guff. Frankly, she's hot.

2) Robert Mitchum. Always tending toward the 'sleepy', here should have been issued 'USN regulation' bedroll as a naval captain itching for a battle command and reluctantly being thrust into the highest diplomatic backchannels to show us history as it is unfolding. Just like McGraw, it's the 'screen glamor' that works. Old, tired, working-for-the-check, Mitchum still merits a gaze.

3) History to be watched by 11 year-olds. I'll rate it PG. Should be seen before middle school.

4) History as sentimentalized 40-plus years after the fact for a then-aging War generation of people sitting on sofas and planning Vegas vacations.

5) History as ironic reflection of what we took for granted and now have begun to see slip away: heroic America, the 'good guys', the 'world-beloved', the 'savior democracy' -- all those positive epithets and likely others now worn thin, or simply buffed-up at the Museum of the Right Wing.

6) History as the prospectus of a hedge fund, the kind of 'political capital' that a certain President, recently stepped-down, was willing to spend out of his sense of entrepreneurial caveat emptor on its surface manly, but in its recesses the sunken instablility of a lost child.

7) Ali McGraw: contact (this) home. There's a place by the hearth for you!


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