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The Winds of War

by

Roger Davidson

Heavenly Kid, The
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Rightfully regarded as one of the best miniseries ever made, this magnificent adaptation of Herman Wouk's novel focuses on the years 1939-1941, before America's entry into WWII. In the midst of the growing chaos, Commander Victor "Pug" Henry (Robert Mitchum) and his family get into the thick of it. Mitchum becomes President Roosevelt's naval attache to Germany, and ends up in a conference with Adolf Hitler himself. He also travels to England, during the height of the Blitz and falls for an Englishwoman, Pamala Tudsbury (Victoria Tennant), while Mitchum's wife Rhoda (Polly Bergen) flings herself into a passionate affair with nuclear physicist, Palmer Kirby (Peter Graves).

Meanwhile, Mitchum's son Warren (Ben Murphy) is a naval pilot in the Pacific, while the younger son Byron (Jan-Michael Vincent) is off in Europe, falling in love with the free-spirited Natalie (Ali MacGraw), niece of acclaimed Jewish author Aaron Jastrow (John Houseman). As the winds of war continuously rise, Mitchum finds himself further entrenched in the growing Pandemonium when he goes to Russia and sees the horrors of the battlefront. We also enter the Third Reich, as seen through the eyes of the fictional General Armin Von Roon (Jeremy Kemp). We witness Hitler's plans for conquest, as he prepares to take on the world and begin a reign of terror as gruesome as any that has come before. From the invasion of Poland to the attack at Pearl Harbor, the characters are constantly forced to take part in the impending horror that will be known as WWII.

A sweeping epic of enormous proportions, with excellent performances by all and some of the most well-staged battle scenes in film history. Mitchum is the superb choice for the main character, with his trademark cool perfectly used here. He is wonderfully supported by such talents as MacGraw, Vincent, Bergen, Houseman, Kemp, Tennant and Ralph Bellamy as the indomitable Franklin Roosevelt. Some of the scenes involving the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich are both stunning and terrifying in their realism. This is one of those films that gets your passion to learn about history geared up. But this is just a prelude to the real horrors of WWII to come.

My Rating = Four Stars


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