Joseph Armagh was a poor Irish immigrant who came to the United States in the mid-19th century, and proceeded, through struggle, heartache and hard work, to become one of the richest and most powerful men in the country. This nine-part miniseries details Armagh's path to success. Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Producer Jo Swerling Jr. remembers "We had a lovely young actress named Beverly D'Angelo doing a love scene with Harvey Jason. It was your typical TV shot across her back to Harvey as she lets the negligee drop to the ground, and she's standing there naked. Then we did closeups of Harvey, and then of Beverly. And in Beverly's closeup we put a TV matte on the lens so that our matted field of vision would cut just at the nipple line; that was it was obvious that she was nude, but you didn't see any nipple. However, when the show was telecast, there were in the new TV sets variances in the field of vision, and half the sets in the country saw more of Beverly than the other half. The following morning, we got a panic call from Broadcast Standards that we had violated the nudity ban and that more people saw Beverly's nipples than didn't. But nobody complained. Nobody but the censors. The upshot was that we were told not to cut it that close in the future." See more »
The comparison of the fictional Armaughs to the Kennedy clan can't be escaped. Still, this is a magnificent entertainment piece about an Irish immigrant who claws to the top of power and money (remindful of Joe Kennedy Sr.?)with the crown jewel being son Rory's bid to become the nation's first Irish Catholic president. "Captains and the Kings" is riveting from its beginning when a young Joseph Armaugh is left by his mother's death to care for two younger siblings and through the end where the elderly Joseph is left alone questioning the cost of his power and wealth. The late Richard Jordan is brilliant in presenting his Joseph as the scrapping improverished immigrant turned industrialist power broker but who, in the end, pays a horrible price. The mini-series also introduced us to Blair Brown as the daughter of Joseph's role model, and she manages to grab our empathy despite her being a mistress in Joseph's extra-marital pilferings. But, in a role that landed her a second Emmy, Patty Duke (Astin)is devastating as Joseph's wife in an arranged marriage who gradually is pushed by the price of power (and alcoholism) to insanity. There is a lesson in "Captains and the Kings," especially to those who hunger for more. As with all things, costs come, and the question is at what cost do we feed our hunger and our willingness to pay it.
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