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This is another of those big, lush '80s miniseries, better known as
trash wallows. What fun they were - expensive, scenic, opulent.
Mistral's Daughter is based on a novel by Judith Kranz, concerning
three generations of women in the same family involved with a great
artist, portrayed by Stacy Keach. Stefanie Powers plays Maggy, the
matriarch of the family, who, as a young woman, meets Mistral and
becomes involved with him. Later on, her daughter meets him, falls in
love with him and bears him a child.
Mistral is a real jerk, a Nazi collaborator who turns escaping Jews away at his gates and even turns in a few to get paint supplies. The kind of total narcissist codependents fall in love with. When his illegitimate daughter finds out about this years later, Mistral has to come to grips with his own selfish, self-absorbed life.
For a good actor, Stacy Keach isn't very good in this - everyone suffers from rotten accents. Stefanie Powers is always good but playing a 17-year-old when she was over 40 may not have been the best move, although she certainly is very beautiful.
All in all, this is a very entertaining miniseries. Just don't take it too seriously and enjoy it for what it is - an '80s artifact.
A cozy up to the fire kind of flick for a rainy day blubber-fest. The
"mistral" a wild, hot wind that blows for weeks in parts of Greece and
Italy, this epic tale blows likewise, with the fiery passion of a true
"romantic". Yes, Stephanie Powers is probably the only woman who could
have pulled off the age span, and she does it very well.
But once Timothy Dalton took over the screen all else paled. Talk about wild and hot, this man could make any woman burn! When Dalton leaves the stage the movie begins to go downhill for those of us who love to look at that gorgeous face! If Judith Krantz knew T.D. would have been playing him, I would like to think she would have kept him around longer. But alas, the plot did not, so to speak. My enthusiasm began to wane even though the heroine's life didn't.
Mistral himself comes off as what he is, an egocentric, artistic cad, well done by Stacey Keach. You do begin to despise the man. Loved the story, and the scenery was breath-taking enough to make me want to hop a plane for France, just to travel the countryside and see what Krantz saw when she wrote it.
The artworks depicted in the film were striking, and one could almost believe to find them in some gallery in New York or Chicago. All in all, a chick-flick, but one worth re-visiting on a lonely day.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When a hurricane is bearing down, and you can no longer stand the
hysteria on the local news channel, but have not the mood for anything
requiring mental effort, get a copy of Mistral's daughter and wallow in
mindless eye candy - the best of mini-series trash. It is a wonderful
antidote to serious issues: a fun wallow in the kind of romantic
fiction loved by 14-year-old girls.
The story concerns a young French orphan, Maggie, who has run off to Paris to seek her fortune, and who manages to land on her feet from day one, as one wealthy patron after another falls madly in love with her. 18 year old Maggie is played by 40 something Stephanie Powers, under a thick layer of makeup and long luxurious wigs. She shows up in Montparnasse where people with no job skills hire themselves out as artists models. This is the Paris of the 1920's, and Maggie has landed right smack in the centre of where it is all happening.
Maggie is immediately discovered by an arrogant, selfish artist, Julian Mistral, who would fall in love with her if he did not love himself more. The world according to Mistral is that other people are placed on earth in order to serve his needs. They move in together, and she supports him until he sells a painting that he had given her. She moves out and is immediately snapped up by a wealthy Irish American, Timothy Dalton, who comes from a prominent Irish Catholic family of the type who always have a Cardinal in tow. He falls madly in love with her and sets her up in grand style. Of course, his wife will not give him a divorce when Maggie becomes pregnant. He goes back to New York and she follows, arriving just as the stock market crashes and he drops dead on the squash court. Not one to waste a moment, Maggie hikes off to a diamond broker to sell her jewels. Despite the crash, the smitten jeweller gets her top dollar for the rocks, enough to set her up in business for herself later. The jeweller recommends her to a fashion house to find work as a model, which she does immediately and makes her entry into society.
WWII comes to France; Mistral locks his gates and ignores the plight of everyone around as he wishes to work undisturbed. He collaborates with a German officer in order to get painting supplies and work in peace, and in return turns in a few good men to the Nazis.
By the 50's Maggie is running her own modelling agency and her teenage daughter wants in. On assignment in France she meets up with Mistral and it is love at first sight. She moves in with him, his American wife gets the cold shoulder and she gives birth to a daughter, then dies in an accident.
We leap ahead and Mistral is establishing a relationship with his daughter, at the expense of his own wife and child. His legitimate daughter has married a snobbish French playboy with an aversion to work. The illegitimate girl then meets up with a young man who is the son of a Jewish art dealer and long time friend whom Mistral had turned his back on during the war. Wife dies, Mistral dies, there is a squabble over the will, the French playboy finds a Princess with better prospects, and young love triumphs.
The hilarious part of this mini series is trying to guess who characters are based on in real life. The Irish American catholic family with the Cardinal always on hand; the French playboy who dumps his wife for a Princess; the artist? All this is wrapped up in a gorgeous package, wonderful scenery, lots of costume changes, but unfortunately, an awful cheesy piano and strings "romantic theme" being hammered out and washing over the sound track lest there be any quiet moments. The phony French would not have been so bad if they had not had real French actors whose English sounded like vocal paint-by-numbers. Perhaps they were reading it off phonetic cue cards! whatever, it sounds like the British comedy 'Allo, 'Allo.
This a typical glossy American mini-series of the mid-eighties (and now) concerning a grumpy Provencal artist deftly played by Stacey Keach and his life and loves. It is both melodramatic and crass, but it is watchable for one reason alone; the sight of Stefanie Powers prancing around the Rive Gauche in 1900's Paris playing an 18 year artist's model when she is well over 40 and far too old for the part is absolutely irresistible. This is genuine parody fodder for the likes of French & Saunders and has the watcher giggling with disbelief at such comic miscasting. Interlaced with its syrupy theme tune 'Only Love' sung by the evergreen (and awful) Nana Mouskouri and faux French scenery, this is guaranteed to cheer up all fans of awful but hilarious television.
As a kid I adored Stephanie Powers in Hart To Hart and would watch her in anything..even my childhood favourite; The Bionic Woman (sady, she was in the bigfoot episodes, the equivalent of 'jumping the shark' but I still liked her!) and recently I had a chance to see Mistral's Daughter again. It actually held up well to my now fairly sophisticated movie taste. I don't like to find flaws anyway, so I will leave that to those who enjoy that sort of thing. The cast was a wonderful assortment of talent. Stephanie was so beautiful and played the age range very well. I also found the actress who played Fauve, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu to be uniquely beautiful as well. Timothy Dalton was appealingly young and handsome though rather slight as compared to my memory of him. Stacy Keach was suitably sexy and intense, a good actor, though hard to feel much attraction to such a selfish character and the hare-lip turned me off. I loved some of the paintings used in the film though! A lot of fun especially for any seasoned TV watcher as you will see a lot of familiar and young faces, Joanna Lumley is a treat, as always. As usual some of the best acting was done by the secondary roles, in this case feature film calibre roles played by; Pierre Malet as Avigdor, who was very good, sometimes heart-wrenchingly so, Stéphane Audran as the selfless Paula and the incredible Lee Remick as the cool master manipulator with a self-destructive passion for Mistral. Sure one can find faults, but why bother? Enjoy yourself!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The only redeeming quality of this overlong miscast melodrama is the scenery of southern France and the voice of Nana Mascouri singing the theme song. Stephanie Powers is miscast and betrayed by a phony accent. As has been pointed out, she is too old to play an 18 year old and looks far too young as a grandmother with a college age granddaughter? Lee Remick is good although she also is ageless in her later years. The talented Joanna Lumley is under utilized and also manages to look forever young when her middle aged son (Robert Urich) finally marries Grandma Stephanie Powers. Stacey Keach's ceaseless arrogance makes you wonder what these women saw in him. Don't know how any viewer could relate to his excessive portrayal? The most credible performance is given by Ian Richardson, who makes the rest of the cast look like rank amateurs. It strains credulity that the handsome male suitors in this epic would remain ever single while they patiently await the subject of their affections to finally consent to accept them. Can anybody believe that handsome Robert Urich would remain single for decades waiting for Stephanie Powers to finally accept his endless marriage proposals? The WW2 engagement between the Wehrmacht and the Marquis is laughable. To begin with, the Germans did not occupy the Provence section of France until late in the war, it was controlled by the Vichy French puppet government. We see the French resistance staging a daylight raid on Mistral's villa to steal sheets after which they all lounge under a bridge waiting for a lumbering truckload of Nazi troops to surprise and annihilate them? If you want to see a well acted mini-series set in a foreign country, don't watch Mistral's Daughter. A far better alternative would be The Thorn Birds.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ministrals' daughter is a story that is very compelling story despite
the bad casting.Lee Remick gives a strong performance as the unloved
and despised wife of Ministral and Keech gives an outstanding
performance as the complex and cruel artist Mistral. Mistral in the
beginning, starts out as an impoverished artist. He seduces young
Maggie Lunnel(Stephanie Powers who plays an 18 year old but looks 40]
lol He callously discards Maggie for American Business woman Kate
Brown(Remick) after she promises him fame and fortune as an artist.
Maggie finds solace in an American Business man and has a daughter (teddy lunnel- who becomes Ministrals' mistress and has a child by him) Ministral falls deeply in love with teddy until she is tragically killed in a boating accident. Although, he has a child with kate he treats her callously ... it is clear that teddy's child is his favorite
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Usually, I don't think Hollywood productions are fit to be called film,
so I call them 'movies' instead. But this piece of elephant manure, is
not even fit to be called a movie, hence the quotes in the title.
Where shall i start? 1. If this isn't the start of geriatric casting, it sure is the epitome of it. Stefanie Powers is supposed to play someone even LESS than half her age, she's supposed to play an 18 year old, and she is FORTY effing TWO!!!!
2. A horrible and stupid mindless portrayal of Paris and France, where we see cliché characters such as: the sympathetic grumpy shop owner, the bitchy queen of models, the fairy god mother ex-queen of models, etc. This film is surpassed only in this respect by the Da Vinci Code, (which reviewers correctly determined was a comedy).
3. It's highly and utterly ridiculous to have no nudity in a film about a time and a place where nudity was so common place, especially if the whole focus is about that
4. The horrible accents!!!
5. The Nana Mouskouri elevator-music!!!
I could go on, but i think this is enough. And I was able to make these observations after watching this crap for just half an hour, WHILE surfing the internet and talking to my friends about math equations ... I mean ...!!!!!
I invite everyone to add to my list. :) :P :D
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