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I voted this movie a ten because I was in it. Been too long ago now to
actually remember it. I found this site when looking up info on Eddie
Albert's death, God rest his soul.
Several students from Chamberlain Hunt Academy were hired as extras for this movie, I was included in this group. A friend (JJ Mitchell) and I were having lunch and the only table available at the time was where Mr. Albert was eating and talking to Burt Reynolds (not in the movie) we asked if we could sit there and they smiled and told us to have a seat. They went back to their discussion and we didn't bother them any further. We ate our lunch and when finished we left. Two young girls had seen us eating with these 2 famous actors and assumed we were famous or up and coming and asked for our autographs. We of course signed for them.
Another story was a scene where the people were leaving the town and Meredith Baxter was coming into the town. I was supposed to run across the street between some horses and up the side that Ms. Baxter was coming down. One of the horses was coming a little faster than I thought and I had to make a dash to keep from getting hit. I ran smack into Ms. Baxter. I would have knocked her down had I not caught her (I was a big guy even then). She gave me a peck on the cheek, for not knocking her to the ground I suppose.
I don't remember actually seeing myself in the movie but thought I'd pass these stories along.
These novels were not cheap paperbacks when they first came out. I read
them years ago, and to call them Supermarket novels is to do them an
injustice. But also, that same person who posted that said the movie
starred Lesley Ann Downe-- he didn't even get Lesley Ann Warren's name
I loved this movie. I bought it from Amazon.com about a month ago. I had planned to watch it in three or four sittings, since it ran over 4 hours, but I became so engrossed that I watched it in two sessions. It is a two disc movie. There were a lot of similarities to Gone With The Wind in the movie, but not so many in the books. I've been to Natchez, and I was happy to see a shot of "The Delta Queen." I've ridden on the Delta Queen. It used to dock at Louisville.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Surely Margaret Mitchell's legendary tome "Gone With the Wind" is not the only book of its type, nor is the film version the only movie of that type. However, the book and the movie, both, are sterling examples of the subject matter, some might say untoppable. So iconic and legendary is the story of Scarlett O'Hara that anything coming after it suffers by comparison. So here is a miniseries based on two books concerning the trials of the Deep South during The Civil War that comes off as a sort of parallel universe "Gone With the Wind," except that instead of a selfish heroine, there's a deeply caring and noble one. Warren plays the pretty and forthright young wife of inept and immature plantation heir Rudd. Rudd's mother Lange knows that he will never be able to properly manage Beulah Land, but sees potential in Warren. When the war comes, and with it destruction, desolation and depression, it is Warren's core of strength that keeps things afloat. Meanwhile, she must deal with her selfish, philandering sister Baxter, snarling, confrontational overseer Shenar, withdrawn, mentally-bruised sister-in-law Stowe and various other troublesome relatives, slaves, Yankees and so on. Several decades of storyline are presented, sometimes skipping a few years at a time, as Warren's character goes from a young girl to a mature woman. Warren gives a sensitive, multifaceted performance in what is about as close as anyone (outside of Joanne Whalley-Kilmer in that ghastly mini-series "Scarlett") will ever get to portraying a role so close to that of Mitchell's heroine. The 6-hour (with commercials) project needed someone very appealing and heartfelt to keep it going and she more than fits the bill. A few of her many costars stand out as well. Johnson has an all-too-brief role as a lascivious bridegroom of Stowe's and wears some of TV's most eye-opening trousers in his first scene. Lange lends quiet authority and stature to her matriarchal role (she's almost unrecognizable at first in her red wigs.) Baxter has a bit of a field day with her snotty character and even gets to sort of reenact the big Atlanta hospital and perilous journey home scenes. Albert affectionately plays an elder uncle. Scott enjoys a late career turn as Warren's caring, if traditional, aunt. Shenar is appropriately nasty and threatening, if rather one-dimensional. Harewood plays Rudd's boyhood friend, a slave who would eventually live to see freedom. Along with the decent performances there are those that fall short. Of course the landscape is so full, after trying to squeeze the material of two novels into one film, that sometimes characters show up only long enough to be killed a few scenes later! Sarrazin doesn't add very much oomph or charisma to his role of a photographer who is smitten with Warren. Agutter seems rather wasted as a prostitute who manages to marry her way out of the brothel. A lot of the smaller roles are filled with people who have a lack of acting skill and presence. There's a feeling (some might say fairy tale-like) of racial harmony at Warren's plantation. Perhaps there were some places like that and on one hand it's pleasing to see, though it may possibly be sending out an incorrect notion. However, the film will never be shown again on television in an uncensored version due to its use of frank racial language from the antagonists of the piece, among others. At this point in time, Warren was, if not Queen of the Miniseries, then at least a princess and it's all geared as a showcase for her and her melodramatic gifts. On that level it succeeds. It's less successful as a depiction of the way things were in that place and time. In the 80s, it became a brief rage to film miniseries out of sprawling Civil War stories such as "The North and the South" and "The Blue and the Gray." Oh, and keep an eye out for the preposterously revealing portrait that Sarrazin paints of Warren! No way.
One of the previous posters wrote that this mini-series was based on a series of "supermarket novels." I would like to defend these books. I believe later editions printed in paperback were most likely designed with supermarket novel buyers in mind and at first glance would appear to be silly romances. Years ago I happened on an old paperback copy in a library with a caption reading, "Beulah Land. Where splendor mingled with shame and sex was as easy as laughing." This made ME LAUGH because I had just finished reading the series (in vintage hardback) and they're actually quite good and well-written. The miniseries is far too melodramatic compared to its source material. Sure, there are some historical inaccuracies in the books but all in all the characters are well-thought out. The characters of Sarah, Loretta and Annabelle are surprisingly real, in my opinion, and readers really get a chance to know them because they each remain fairly prominent throughout all three novels. Each remains entirely true to her character to the last.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have all three volumes of Beulah Land and have read them numerous times. The overseer was Roscoe Elk, not Roscoe Corlay. In the book he married Clovis, not a hooker. In the book Roscoe kills Clovis when he finds out that Leon and her had become "pals". And Casey Troy was a photographer, not in the military. Where is Stella, the one who tends to Felix. Where is the Yankee deserter who marries Rachels daughter, Jane. Come to think of it, where is Jane?? Aunt Nell played a prominent part in the book, in this movie she only had bit parts. I was very disappointed in this movie. Had they have followed the book, I would of loved it. If you have read the book don't waste your time on this movie.
Like Gone With The Wind, Beulah Land is centered around the figure of a
southern belle who turns out to have the right stuff to see her's and
another family through the tribulations of the Civil War and
Reconstruction. Lesley Ann Warren is the central character here. When
we first meet her she's in the best fiddle-dee-dee tradition of
Scarlett O'Hara. But she's married to Paul Rudd who is weak and self
indulgent. Gradually she takes over as head of the family and doing the
running of the plantation while Rudd pursues his vices along with
neighbor Don Johnson who marries Rudd's sister.
The prominent black role in Beulah Land is that of Dorian Harewood who is manumitted free and actually becomes the overseer of the plantation known as Beulah Land that Warren runs. Between the two of them they pull both the blacks and whites through a few crises.
The Union Army is hardly seen as liberators. A great of emphasis is placed on General Sherman's war waged on the Southern aristocracy. In particular his 'Bummer's Brigades' whose mission was to rob and pillage and take their pleasures when they find them.
Though it covers the same ground as Gone With The Wind and a great deal more before and after, Beulah Land when you come right down to it is more like a southern fried Peyton Place. Between the two families, the Kendricks and Davises there's a lot of sex going on for three generations plus the outsiders drawn in. No doubt the sex sold Beulah Land to the reading public.
Besides those I've mentioned pay attention to Meredith Baxter who is Warren's sister who disgraces her class by going on stage and marrying an actor. She gets disowned, but comes back in Reconstruction to settle some scores.
It's not Gone With The Wind, neither is it Roots. Beulah Land is good drama with more sex than history.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have read all 3 volumes of the series by Lonnie Coleman numerous times. In fact I pretty much know the story word for word. I can assure you this series does not follow the books at all. Many major characters in the books have been reduced to minor parts or omitted completely. Many characters never mentioned in any of the books are added, for example who is the man named they call Rosoe Corlay? No place in any of the books. What happened to Roscoe Elk and Daniel Todd? Pretty major players in the books! So if you are looking at this series because you enjoyed the books you will be sadly disappointed. It is still entertaining and will be more enjoyable if you have never read the books.
This miniseries, based on a series of supermarket novels, concerns the lives and travails of a southern family from the antebellum days on up past the Civil War. A TV version of "Gone With The Wind", cast with many well-known actors(Hope Lang, Meredith Baxter, Lesley Anne Down), as well as up-and-comers(Jonathan Frakes, Madeleine Stowe). Recommended.
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