QB VII (TV Mini-Series 1974– ) Poster

(1974– )

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The verdict is in....
Poseidon-314 April 2003
The lives of two men, vastly different in their beliefs and in their lifestyles, come head to head in this sprawling mini-series, the first, in fact, of the "television events" that had their heyday in the 1970's and early 1980's. This one was based on a novel by (and real life event in the life of) Leon Uris. Hopkins plays a doctor and former concentration camp prisoner who, while in captivity, was compelled to aid the Nazis in operations related to their horrific human experiments. He is briefly charged with willing compliance in war atrocities, but is found innocent. He then takes his wife (Caron) and baby boy to Kuwait where he works tirelessly to make a difference in the world of the less fortunate. Eventually, he is knighted for his efforts. Meanwhile, Gazzara plays an American Jew who volunteers in the RAF and is gunned down. He courts his nurse (Mills), eventually marrying her, and becomes a celebrated writer. Before long, he is a jaded, wealthy hack who cheats on Mills and lives at odds with his heritage. Eventually, though, he finds that he is compelled to write about the Holocaust and when he does, his reference to Hopkins in the book sparks a libel suit from the now-decorated doctor. The climax of the film is a tense and agonizing court trial at Queen's Bench Seven (hence, the title) as Gazzara tries to prove that Hopkins is guilty while Hopkins strives to keep his name clean. This film set the pace for all mini-series to come (until budgets and tastes changed in the 1990's) and contains many of the characteristics which would mark the format (episodic story arcs, endless star cameos, dubious age make-up, etc...) The story takes a looonnng time to pick up speed with sporadically interesting periods done in by the common (at the time) practice of setting each scene with excruciating shots of buildings, cars pulling up, characters walking to buildings, etc... while Jerry Goldsmith's "Exodus"-flavored score blares and a hopelessly campy narrator butts in. There is, however, some good location work throughout. Fortunately, once the pre-history of the men is finally established, the courtroom scenes make up for the tedium and soapiness of the early sections. Hopkins is wonderful. He invests the character with a wealth of expression and mystery, especially as the case wears on. Gazzara is often wooden, but comes across nicely several times. Caron gets very little to do except fret under layers of age make-up and a grey wig. Mills won an Emmy for her sensitive, appealing work. The film gets a huge shot of class and talent from the excellent Remick (though her role peters out as the film continues) and from the appearances of several renowned British character actors, notably Quayle and Evans. It's a memorable mini-series due to the striking nature of the case, it's place in TV history and the work of Hopkins and a few others. Some of the sequences alluded to and shown are just as unsettling and horrifying in today's "seen-it-all" world as they must have been in 1974, with the tour of the actual camp and the visit to a Holocaust memorial particularly vivid (even if the same cheesy narrator of the mini-series is used, with an accent, to narrate the memorial's documentary!!) Many viewers will be put off by the pace of the scenes in the mid-section, but those who stick with it will find value in the courtroom climax.
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9/10
Vindication At the Queen's Bench
bkoganbing15 May 2011
One of the earliest of TV mini-series casts Anthony Hopkins and Ben Gazzara who are the plaintiff and defendant in a libel suit. The case is being settled in the courtroom number seven of the Queen's Bench in London, QB VII. What Gazzara is accusing Hopkins of is monstrous indeed, the participation of experiments on Jews in the concentration camp of forced sterilization which involved chemical and physical castration.

Not an easy thing to prove because since World War II, Hopkins, an anti-Communist Polish refugee has been knighted by the Queen for his humanitarian work among the Arab desert tribes. That's probably no accident he chose to settle there with his wife Leslie Caron and son who grows up to be Anthony Andrews. The shifting sands of the Cold War has made such charges tinged with political overtones.

Gazzara is author Leon Uris inserted into the novel and Uris himself doesn't paint a flattering portrait. He's one of Jewish heritage who is not terribly religious. Gazzara married a British girl, Juliet Mills, who was a nurse seeing to his recovery and they have a son who grows up to be Kristoffer Tabori. Gazzara becomes a hack Hollywood screenwriter and gets rich and bored. But he then writes an epic Jewish novel the way Leon Uris wrote Exodus of deeply researched historical fiction and he names Hopkins and what he allegedly did.

This is by no means a strange phenomenon. From the Fifties through the Nineties we heard stories of former Nazis turning up in all kinds of places and in plain sight, not hiding in the deep recesses of Argentina or Paraguay which seemed to be favored by Nazis of higher rank and profile like Dr. Mengele. The President of Austria in the Eighties, Kurt Waldheim had his Nazi past uncomfortably exposed once he was in office. And Ivan Demjanjuk at the ripe old age of 95 after years as an automobile worker in the USA just got sentenced for his war crimes. I doubt we'll be seeing too many more though.

QB VII got a flock of Emmy Awards and nominations including in the Supporting Acting category for Juliet Mills and Anthony Quayle who plays the barrister representing Gazzara. His cross examination scene with Hopkins is devastating. And of course Gazzara and Hopkins are at their usual sterling best.

QB VII marked the farewell performance of Jack Hawkins who had for several years performed without a voice box due to throat cancer which finally claimed him. In QB VII a voice similar to his was used which was not always the case. In a sense this film is his because Hawkins plays the judge presiding over the court in QB VII.

This mini-series holds up very well today and I recommend it highly for viewers who are interested in Holocaust justice and the unfortunate politics that sometimes accompanies it.
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9/10
Outstanding land-breaking series
canuckteach30 April 2007
This was a land-breaking mini-series -- fine actors, quality cinematography, and superb production values. Anthony Quayle, Ben Gazzara, Jack Hawkins, Lee Remick and Anthony Hopkins are outstanding. TV was challenging the Hollywood film industry at the time in producing serious extended drama, and this time they scored. Note that some real survivors of the Holocaust (the actual atrocities of the real-life doctor on which the story is based) appeared in minor parts. Jack Hawkins had undergone surgery on his throat, and played his role struggling with a disability. Also, some extended courtroom dialog was shot in one take, since the actors (most notably Anthony Quayle) were so pumped about the roles they were playing.

Many may have forgotten this outstanding (early) performance (as the hapless Adam Kelno) by Anthony Hopkins (who just doesn't seem to age!), who also appeared in a fine mini-series in this era about the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. Hopkins played Bruno Hauptmann, the man who was convicted for the kidnapping and murder.
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7/10
A flawed but important film.
urbisoler-14 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I write this from a distance of 31 years after the fact. Time colors ones perspective. Anthony Hopkins is one of my all time favorite actors and I hated to see him as one of the doctors who experimented horrifically on Jewish patients. Nevertheless, it is a part designed for at least an Emmy nomination and I feel that Hopkins deserved one. Is it remotely possible that he was deliberately overlooked BECAUSE of the part he played? Perhaps. I would liked to have given the film a higher rating but feel it was sufficiently flawed to justify the 7 I gave it. Here are my reasons for doing so. 1. Abe Cady was an SOB throughout most of Part 1. His father dies and a single visit to bury his father in Israel changes his entire persona virtually overnight. It does not ring true. 2. Samantha Cady is the good guy in this and she is totally abandoned by her husband, son and the filmmakers; a fate she does not deserve. It is as if she were put in the film simply to produce a son who deserts his mother and is destined to die as punishment for Abe's early transgressions. 3. The important parts of the film are the trial sequences, a fair portion of which was devoted to exposing Jewish atrocities which had nothing to do with Cady's charges against Adam Kelno. 4. Unless I am mistaken, there was a point where Chief Justice Gilroy (Jack Hawkins) allows testimony subject to later connection which connection was never made. 5. I fail to understand why the Polish woman(?) revealed to Abe Cady the name of the man she loved who was in possession of a record that would destroy Kelno. 6. Unless I am mistaken, David Shawcross, Cady's lawyer played by Dan O'Herlihy, is only made aware of those records at the final moment in the trial and yet, is suddenly so thoroughly familiar with it that he is able to destroy Kelno's credibility point by point in the most dramatic sequence in the film. I suspect that if I had read the Leon Uris book, I would have given the film an even lower rating.
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10/10
Hard to find but well worth looking for,...
MartinHafer19 July 2005
This was a fascinating mini-series based on the Leon Uris novel of the same name, and it helped to launch the mini-series genre. It is VERY fortunate that the producers were able to get such gifted stars as Ben Gazzara and Anthony Hopkins for the leads. Writing, acting, music and exotic locales make this a must-see.

The plot is based on a real-life lawsuit against Uris following the publication of his novel EXODUS. Dr. Adam Kelno is a very well-respected medical doctor who was knighted for his humanitarian work. However, the writer Abe Cady writes a novel that names Kelno, among others, as having committed was crimes while working for the Nazis many years earlier. The central questions of the series are DID Kelno work for the Nazis and IF he did, was he the benevolent man he claims to have been or a monster who was NOT forced to commit atrocities.
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9/10
The Hey Day of Mini Series
LauraLeeWasHere2 May 2013
I saw this mini series when I was only 8 years old. It came on for 2 afternoons in a row during school hours. The first day I was recovering from a trip to the dentist and saw the first part. The second day I did a lot of begging and my mother finally consented to let me stay home to watch it. And my mother never let me out of school for a TV show. But she knew it was good too. I don't think I've ever given a movie or TV Show such a high rating before and I've seen thousands of both during my more than 40 years of watching. But it's the first time I saw Anthony Hopkins in anything and even though I didn't understand everything that was going on, I was memorized by the story. (before that the most intense things I had ever watched was "The Wonderful World of Disney".) "QB IIV" kept me thrilled and enthralled at 8 years old and all these years later when I understand more and see more layers I can say it's even better. Do YOURSELF a favour and watch this miniseries. It's based on a true story about a trial of a doctor who was tried for war crimes by doing surgery on Jewish people in concentration camps. But the entire show you are trying to figure out if he did it or if it is just some horrible mistake. (It certainly would be a nightmare to be accused of such a thing if you didn't do it). So you'll have to watch to find out the solution. I wouldn't even hint at what happens and deprive you of one moment of fascination. Enjoy! And don't forget, it's also a book. So you may want to read that too. It's more layered than the MiniSeries is. L-L
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10/10
Brilliant drama of Nazi war crimes trial
the55tan7 June 2002
My first discovery of astonishing acting by Anthony Hopkins, still memorable after 25+ years. Riveting plot with twists and turns and dogged detective work by the Ben Gazzara character. Not sure where you can find it these days, but if you run across it, you won't be disappointed.
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courtroom drama as only the Brits can do
sailorsam19 May 2001
A saintly doctor, Kelno (Anthony Hopkins) is accused of being a collobroator with the nazis by a Jewish writer, Cady (Ben Gazzara), and the two 'duel' in a courtroom, Queens Bench VII (hence the title). Kelno stoutly defends his character but the past catches up to him. I wish the movie could have explored how Dr Kelno--clearly a morally admirable doctor, helping the poor and defying the powerful--changed; or was he always a saint...except when dealing with the Jews? The opposing counsels, played by John Gielgud and Anthony Quayle, are the show. Frankly, I fast forwarded through the first half to watch the courtroom part, which is superb, very British, elegant and fascinating, especially as the Anthony Quayle barrister finally pins down the frantic Kelno, while Kelno's lawyer watches helplessly ("My Lord...!") Highly recommended. A terrific slap at communists early ('You spoke well of Dr --.' 'That was before he defected. Now I say he is guilty'. 'Guilty of what?' 'Of whatever you are charging him with.')
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7/10
Good production with a problematic lead
jjnxn-113 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Excellent performances from Anthony Hopkins and Leslie Caron only go so far to help this miniseries overcome both over-length and the despicable character portrayed by Ben Gazzara. Are we suppose to applaud this jerk who forces someone to relive the horrors of the Holocast to serve his own ends and allows him to be blackmailed with the threat of the loss of his family even it he feels it is in the course of justice. Where is that man's justice? Not saying that what the other character is accused of isn't reprehensible too. Lee Remick is listed as a star of this but her appearance here is strictly window dressing added for marquee value. The production values are high and this is a good example of when great care was taken with network miniseries and they ruled the airwaves.
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First Rate Entertainment
Robert-8727 January 1999
Strong acting and a blistering courtroom drama unfold in this six hour mini-series.

Ben Gazzara and Anthony Hopkins are fantastic and the make-up job on Anthony Hopkins is phenomenal as the artist has him look the way he does now and the show is 25 years old.

Very good entertainment that moves along at a rapid pace.
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