by Man with Janice Rotchstein Ebert ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 1, 1981
A hard-working, supersudsing saga (1934-73) about the triumphs and travails of two actress sisters and their brooding broods on both coasts, as well as in London and Paris. Carolyn and Margaret Tiernan, recently orphaned teenage daughters of an acting couple, Super-Chief off to Hollywood and instant stardom in the early Thirties. Superintending their instant destinies is rock-hard, ruthless studio boss Frank Killerbrew (who'll turn out to be your basically decent tough guy). And while the sisters are the talk of tinsel town, romance and sex stumble into theft lives: ladylike Carolyn weds talented writer and PR man John Ollson; Margaret, victim of a one-shot pregnancy by a studio electrician, is married off to nice homosexual cowboy star Sonny (who'll later be killed), has a Vesuvius affair with Killerbrew, but will finally wed pleasant banker James Carrington. Then--on to the next generation. Carolyn's kids will be damaged by John's absence as a WW II POW, his later depression, and their marital separation: Thomas is permanently alienated, turns far right, top-sergeants his nice wife and kids, but as a tortured POW in Vietnam will rethink his hatreds; actress beauty Marti will marry and divorce older men three times while looking for Dad, will bear twins, but will then leave acting for anti-war activity and journalism (she's almost assassinated with anti-war father John); and relatively ""normal"" J.J. war-protests, splitting for Canada--and a film career. Meanwhile Margaret's love-child Vinnie, deceived about his parentage, becomes a box office smash, then slides into drugs and general honkers-dom, trusting only Marti; Esalen-type therapy, however, brings him back to a new life. So finally Carolyn and Margaret, now widows, cling lovingly together under the Blackglama as Thomas returns home to express his newly discovered love for them all. Surprisingly little real show-biz atmosphere--most of the crises here could happen in any family-saga milieu whatsoever--but overall it's a huge, smooth, saleable Dynasty Machine, with a punch or a yelp or a cliffhanger at the close of each small, nicely fitted episode.
Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1981
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1981
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