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Old December 12 2012, 06:30 PM   #1
Temis the Vorta
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North and South (1985)

Anyone remember this Civil War miniseries starring Patrick Swayze? I missed it (mostly) the first tme around and had vague memories of it being cheesy in that prime time soap style of the era.

And yeah, there cheesy elements but it's highly entertaining & just plain fun. Plus, I never before realized that Kirstie Alley and Jonathan Frakes look smilar enough to be siblings!
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Old December 12 2012, 06:54 PM   #2
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Re: North and South (1985)

That's a great miniseries. I just watched it again a month ago. Book II was pretty good too but I really didn't enjoy book III. It was a real letdown.
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Old December 12 2012, 09:33 PM   #3
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Re: North and South (1985)

The third one was disappointin', but the first two were still pretty good last time I watched 'em.

I keep thinkin' about buyin' 'em when I see the set at Wal-Mart...but then I wonder just how often I would watch 'em.
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Old December 12 2012, 09:46 PM   #4
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Re: North and South (1985)

I remember liking the first two; not sure if I even watched the third. But it was pretty good for what it was. It had lots of good actors in it.
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Old December 12 2012, 10:41 PM   #5
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Re: North and South (1985)

I put Book III in my Netflix queue, in the active section, but then I checked and it was in Saved (meaning it isn't available) - is Netflix trying to spare me?

I think I originally only saw the part of the series where Madeline tells Orry her great grandmother was a slave, they decide to flee North but then she has to help that little slut Ashton have an abortion and gets locked up by Psycho Hubby. That's probably how I got the idea that it was all a lunatic melodrama.

This may be entirely out of left field, but I had the strong impression that hints were being placed that Elkeniah Bent was Madeline's long lost slightly older half brother. He was a Southerner, he didn't know the identity of his real mother other than he was certainly illegitimate, and the actor's skin tone was noticeably darker than Gene Kelly's, in their scene together. Also, when he found the painting of Madeline's mother, didn't he say something about it reminding him of someone he once loved? Obviously not Madeline who he'd never met, so I took that to mean that he had vague recollections of his mother. Of course that would require melodramatic coincidence of howling proportions, but it wouldn't be out of keeping with the rest of the story, where best friends are forever bumping into each other on opposite sides of the battle.

I was all set for the big shocking reveal that would be both his comuppance and Ashton's too (who I was rooting for to be pregnant with his child by then). By trying to destroy Orry and Madeline's happiness, he'd be destroying himself. Alas, no such luck. The big kaboom finish was a bit of a let-down for me as a result. Bent and Ashton's loopy scheme to become the Napoleon and Josephine of the Confederacy was one of the best parts of the story.

I love the score...great job by Bill Conti:

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Old December 13 2012, 09:53 AM   #6
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Re: North and South (1985)

I loved this when it was shown on British tv, but have never seen it since that first showing, and I do wonder if seeing it again now might be a dissapointment...
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Old December 13 2012, 07:54 PM   #7
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Re: North and South (1985)

It holds up surprisingly well, because Orry and George's friendship is a strong emotional core for the story, but definitely is in the style of nighttime soaps of that era like Dallas and Dynasty - big, bold, melodramatic. I kinda liked that aspect of it.

PS, i checked out some of Book 3 on YouTube - and Books 1 and 2 are there too, it looks like - and wow, yeah, now I see why that part is so loathed.
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Old December 13 2012, 09:52 PM   #8
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Re: North and South (1985)

Starkers wrote: View Post
I loved this when it was shown on British tv, but have never seen it since that first showing, and I do wonder if seeing it again now might be a dissapointment...
BHS is selling it , if you're interested. Every time I see it I consider buying it. Haven't done so yet!
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Old December 13 2012, 11:36 PM   #9
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Re: North and South (1985)

I remember watching it as a teen and loving it. So much so I went and read the John Jakes novels (quite a bit different but they always are). I bought the DVDs about 6 months ago and really enjoyed watching the first two installments again but as said before the third really falls flat on its face. They defiantly have that 80's General Hospital soap opera feel but for me that is part of it's nostalgic charm.
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Old December 14 2012, 09:36 AM   #10
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Re: North and South (1985)

WillsBabe wrote: View Post
Starkers wrote: View Post
I loved this when it was shown on British tv, but have never seen it since that first showing, and I do wonder if seeing it again now might be a dissapointment...
BHS is selling it , if you're interested. Every time I see it I consider buying it. Haven't done so yet!
I knew I'd seen it somewhere so it's probably there. It's tempting...depends how pricy it is (for I am a cheapskate!)
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Old December 14 2012, 11:16 AM   #11
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Re: North and South (1985)

Starkers wrote: View Post
WillsBabe wrote: View Post
Starkers wrote: View Post
I loved this when it was shown on British tv, but have never seen it since that first showing, and I do wonder if seeing it again now might be a dissapointment...
BHS is selling it , if you're interested. Every time I see it I consider buying it. Haven't done so yet!
I knew I'd seen it somewhere so it's probably there. It's tempting...depends how pricy it is (for I am a cheapskate!)
£10.25 for the whole series boxset on Amazon;

North & South

I watched it back in the 80s, loved the first two books, can't even remember if I saw the third book though.
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Old December 14 2012, 02:47 PM   #12
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Re: North and South (1985)

That is very cheap...

I definitely remember two seperate mini series, which presumably were the first two books, but I'm not sure I recall a third either. Maybe we didn't get it in the UK?
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Old December 14 2012, 06:39 PM   #13
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Re: North and South (1985)

This all sounds interesting; I'd like to check it out sometime. But, as mentioned in the Lincoln thread, I still think now'd be an excellent time for HBO to do a societal cross-section Rome-style series on the era. Heck, they could even bring back Kevin McKidd as a by-the-book Army NCO, and Ray Stevenson as a volatile, newly-immigrated private, and let the grand adventures continue!
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Old December 14 2012, 09:02 PM   #14
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Re: North and South (1985)

As many have pointed out it's a soap style miniseries but i still love it to this day.

Upright and manly Orry Maine/George Hazard, bastard Elkanah Bent and that slut witch Ashton.. i loved to admire or hate them and i was blown away by the beauty of Lesley Ann Down.

The overarching tale was also quite good and emotional.. as a non-american you could really relate what the Civl War did to the nation not only in lost lives but torn apart friendships and families just because they lived in the "wrong" state.

Whenever there's a rerun on TV you can bet that i will try to catch it.. only really important stuff can prevent me from doing it just so i can hate Ashton again and admire the others
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Old December 14 2012, 09:51 PM   #15
Temis the Vorta
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Re: North and South (1985)

Gaith wrote: View Post
This all sounds interesting; I'd like to check it out sometime. But, as mentioned in the Lincoln thread, I still think now'd be an excellent time for HBO to do a societal cross-section Rome-style series on the era. Heck, they could even bring back Kevin McKidd as a by-the-book Army NCO, and Ray Stevenson as a volatile, newly-immigrated private, and let the grand adventures continue!
I wouldn't mind seeing a remake done in today's style of cable series - realistic, high production quality, not so much scenery chewing in the acting - with the stipulation that they rewrite Book 3 so it doesn't stink so much!

For instance, it's a real shame that Jakes didn't have Bent continue his greedy, megalomaniac shenanigans in the Reconstruction era South. With the social order upended, that is prime pickings for a hyena like him. Turning him into some kind of demented serial killer was a real waste, just not interesting. It would be easy to arrange for him to fall afoul of George and Madeline who are trying to build up a legit business in the same area.

Also, in the books, it looks like Virgilia survived and the whole execution thing was invented for the miniseries. I would have liked to see more from her. I loved her warrior like, take-no-prisoners attitude, even if she cold be scary at times. No doubt she'd also end up in the South, probably as a teacher for freed slaves and from that position, she'd be tangling with the KKK!

Orry's death struck me as so idiotic that I had to check out how the books handled it. He was supposed to die in the war, which makes far more sense, since I found it very strange the way characters were dying right and left, but not in the war or even from disease in military camps. You can't have a war and not sacrifice at least one major character to it.
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