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 »
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Epic miniseries about a proud Irish farmer who migrates to America, tired of English repression and the Great Famine. He works hard and even meets the Englishwoman he once loved. The couple reunites. Then the American Civil War breaks out.
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 "Noble House". Unfortunately, with his power, he inherits ancient promises, dark secrets and deep financial problems on a small island full of people who want to see Struan's fall so they can become the Noble House. Dunross' worst enemy is the vicious Quillan Gornt, a lesser tai-pan, and he's doing everything in his power to bring the Noble House to ruin. Drawn into the fight between Gornt and Dunross is an upstart American billionaire who tries to gain a foothold on the Hong Kong market and has made a deal to steal something that will give him power, even over the Noble House. Unfortunately, that something has fallen into the hands of a powerful Chinese overlord. "Everybody was watching [and cheating on] everybody." Who will succeed in the end? Written by
Harald Mayr <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Phoenix Roberts
The distillation of James Clavell's rich and intricate book into a six hours mini series meant that much of the detail and some minor characters had to be cut, along with at least one major thread, that of the espionage network, which was only touched upon by the exposure of one spy, and the unresolved gun running. The mini series could have used another two hours to fully develop the espionage network involving Britain, Mainland China and Russia planting sleepers, and double agents. Watering down the espionage plot resulted in the intelligence official Crosse being a one-note character. I guess we can be thankful that it was not a two hour movie!
The TV version differed from the book in that Ian Dunross was a widower, rather than a happily married man, which allowed him an unnecessary affair with Casey. and it was moved forward from pre-Vietnam 1963 to the 80's, when the cold war was not quite so cold and the fear of what would happen when Hong Kong was returned to China was not quite so acute. I will admit that Deborah Raffin was well cast as the tall loud and brash American woman trying to make it in a man's world, but I could not resist the urge to fast forward her scenes. What became of Philip Chen, last seen threatening to deal with the theft of the half coin in a Chinese Way? We never saw him again.
Other than the truncated storyline, my only problem was with the insipid art design. I found the bleached out look of the European homes, hotels, and any scene in which Deborah Raffin appeared very disconcerting. When a blonde woman wearing white or cream is in a room with white or cream furniture, neutral carpets and very pale green walls, with men in cream colored clothing, the whole scene has an anemic look as well as making her merge into the couch. At the first party, Casey Tcholok is described in the book as wearing a deep emerald green dress, not white silk as shown. The emerald dress would have made her stand out, which is what she was meant to do. I have watched both the VHS tape and the vastly superior DVD, and even on the low quality tape found the art design poor.
The DVD was brilliantly sharp, to the point where you could see the hair dye and artificial grey streaks. Overall, the sumptuous look, other than the aforementioned, was a feat for the eyes, especially the views of Hong Kong, the race course and the beautiful gardens, and the crowded harbor life.
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