This mini series covers 60 years in the lives of the Cleary family, brought from New Zealand to Australia to run their aunt Mary Carson's ranch. The story centers on their daughter, Meggie,... See full summary »
Ian Struan Dunross is chairman of Struan & Co, the oldest and largest of the British-East Asia trading companies. To the Chinese, that also makes him "Tai-Pan" ("supreme leader") of the "... See full summary »
Tai-Pan is Chinese for "supreme leader". This is the man with real power to his hands. And such a Tai-Pan is Dirk Struan who is obsessed by his plan to make Hong Kong the "jewel in the ... See full summary »
Actually taking place in the middle of the original Thorn Birds miniseries, which chronicled the love affair of Meggie Cleary and Fr. Ralph de Bricassart from 1920 to 1962, this two-part ... See full summary »
Kevin James Dobson
When the wife of the Shogun's Decapitator is murdered and he is ordered to commit suicide by the paranoid Shogun, he and his four-year-old son escape and become assassins for hire, embarking on a journey of blood and violent death.
Following the death of the second Tokugawa shogun, it is revealed that he was poisoned by retainers of his son Iemitsu in hopes of gaining him the shogunate despite the stammer and ... See full summary »
The story of Louis XIV of France and his attempts to keep his identical twin brother Philippe imprisoned away from sight and knowledge of the public, and Philippe's rescue by the aging ... See full summary »
Set in the 17th Century, the story is told from the perspective of British hero John Blackthorne, a sailor who rises from outsider to samurai, while being used as a pawn in Japanese leader ... See full summary »
This series follows two families, the Daleys and the Armstrongs, who are neighbors. The Daleys are a blended family, Ann is a construction engineer who has a son Scott from a previous ... See full summary »
John Blackthorne, an English ship pilot, whose vessel wrecked upon the Japanese coast in the early 16th century is forced to deal with the two most powerful men in Japan in these days. He is thrown in the midst of a war between Toranaga and Ishido, who struggle for the title of Shogun which will give ultimate power to the one who possesses it. Written by
Harald Mayr <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The location used for Osaka castle is in fact Himeji Castle. See more »
After the storm at sea, Rodrigues is recovering and tells Blackthorn, "There's a bottle of grog over there. Bring it to me." The term "grog" came from British Admiral Edward Vernon, for whom Washington's estate "Mount Vernon" was named. Vernon habitually wore a coat made of "grogham," a coarse cloth of the 17th Century. He was referred to by his men as "Old Grogham." Vernon disapproved of the British Navy's tradition of giving the sailors a daily ration of rum. He watered down the rum that was passed out to the men. The men derisively referred to this watered rum ration as "grog." Thus the term "grog" did not enter the language until the 1760s and would not have been used in 1600. See more »
Rich and fulfilling, a great adaptation of Clavell's masterpiece
In 1976, James Clavell wrote an epic masterpiece: the story of Blackthorne, an English sailor lost in Feudal Japan. He gradually finds his place, oft the central pawn of political intrigues between various foreign powers and the local warlords. In 1980, this miniseries was unleashed on the world and created a whole new audience for the mammoth bestseller. No small feat considering the length and complexity of Clavell's 1200+ page door-stopper. Clocking in at almost 10 hours, this mega-budgeted series delivers the goods. People who have seen "The Last Samurai" might see a few plot similarities (even in certain smaller details: Tom Cruise sports exactly the same haircut as Richard Chamberlain). With all respect for the 2003 film, Shogun is far out of it's reach.
Richard Chamberlain embodies Blackthorne to perfection, successfully gaining our empathy through an ambiguous yet very human performance. Supporting him are Japanese icon Toshiro Mifune as the shrewd warlord and aspiring shogun Torunaga, who befriends/manipulates Blackthorne, and Yoko Shimada as Blackthorne's translator, confident and friend. Every actor gives life to Clavell's carefully drawn and layered characters (most of all a very bombastic John Rhys-Davies). For a television miniseries, the technical specs are quite surprisingly good. Indeed the budget must have been quite important (and set a record at the time) but never is the story or it's rhythm scarified to show-off. The direction and photography are quite tasteful, often reminiscent of early Kurosawa, only in color. Maurice Jarre's score might not reach the lofty heights of his work for David Lean but it serves it's purpose.
Many will tell you that the book is better. It is certainly more intimate and detailed, but a more faithful and excellent adaptation of such a rich book you are not likely to see anytime soon. For anyone with a taste for epics, Japan or just plain good entertainment, this is essential viewing.
38 of 44 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?