George Peppard plays a hard-driven industrialist more than a little reminiscent of Howard Hughes. While he builds airplanes, directs movies and breaks hearts, his friends and lovers try to reach his human side, and find that it's an uphill battle. The film's title is a metaphor for self-promoting tycoons who perform quick financial takeovers, impose dictatorial controls for short-term profits, then move on to greener pastures.Written by
Jeanne Baker <email@example.com>
Harold Robbins' potboiler comes to the screen, trying to be something it isn't. Main character Jonas Cord is supposedly based on Howard Hughes, but George Peppard doesn't really convince in this role. Perhaps you need more than just good looks to be a trash fiction hero. Alan Ladd, in his final role, plays Nevada Smith, older friend of Cord and washed-up movie star the role was played by Steve McQueen in a later film and is okay, but again, somehow not quite right. Carroll 'Baby Doll' Baker is Cord's predatory step-mother; Elizabeth Ashley, Leif Erickson, Robert Cummings, Lew Ayres, Audrey Totter and Martha Hyer also contribute.
Perhaps the problem with 'The Carpetbaggers' is that it is never in danger of progressing beyond a simmer and the film really needs more to do the novel justice. This aside, it is fairly enjoyable as a time-filler and has moments enough not to completely disappoint: it also pointed the way for the glossy US soap operas of the 1970s and 1980s.
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