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It’s time to admit, I loves me a good snarky recap! Two Snark Weeks ago, I started recapping War & Peace (2016), last year I did North & South (1985). A lot of you requested that I do Book II of North & South (1986) this year, but I just don’t think I’m emotionally ready for the combination of boredom and horror that that will entail. I desperately want to watch the 1987 Casanova with Richard Chamberlain, but it seems to only be available on VHS (or on YouTube dubbed into Russian) — if anyone has access to it on DVD or digitally, SEND IT TO ME AND I WILL MAKE IT WORTH YOUR WHILE.
So instead, this Snark Week I offer you: The Kent Family Chronicles, more specifically, parts 1 and 2: The Bastard (1978) and The Rebels (1979). These are adaptations of an apparently very successful series of 18th century-set historical fiction novels by John Jakes, both of which were made in the 1970s and offer a fiesta of polyester and scoffing. Yes, there’s a third in the series: The Seekers (1979), but seeing as that’s set on the frontier and I have no interest in screencapping a bunch of Little House on the Prairie costumes, I’m sticking with the first two. I’ll be splitting the combined two movies into five sections for a full week of snark! If you want to watch along, you can find both movies on YouTube.
So here we go! We start with fun titles showing that literally every TV actor working in the 1970s is in this. I’m telling you, if they were ever on Love Boat, they’re in this.
Auvergne, France, 1771!
Meet Philippe Charboneau and his many, many layers of hair. Played by Andrew Stevens, who previous to this had been in a decent amount of movies and TV shows, including such gems as The Oregon Trail (1976-77). AFTER this, he was on, yes, Love Boat (total appearances = 2), and also Dallas and a lot of crappy things including Point of Seduction: Body Chemistry III. According to his IMDB bio, he now works as a producer.
Philippe has THE WORLD’S SHITTIEST FRENCH ACCENT. I swear to god, at first I was thinking, “Is he Irish??”
Philippe is sneered at by the locals for acting hoity-toity, and he gets into a fistfight with two yokels. He then runs home to his innkeeper mom, played by Patricia Neal (Oscar-winning actress for Hud , nominated for The Subject Was Roses , also known for her role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s). His tutor, Girard (Peter Bonerzzzzzz), has been teaching Philippe English and all the Enlightenment authors like Rousseau and Locke.
Philippe haz a sad because of his fight, so heads to the barn where he runs into busty, drunken, slutty Charlotte.
Philippe runs into a young Marquis de Lafayette. He saves the marquis from the two yokels he fought with earlier, shooting and killing one.
Mom excitedly tells Philippe the secret she’s hidden all these years: he’s the bastard son of an English lord, and mom has a letter written by pops that gives part of his estate to Philippe! Mom is way too excited about all of this!
Philippe is stoked about being an aristocrat. He and the marquis become #squadgoals, hanging out and shooting at the marquis’s estate.
Mom gets a letter that Philippe’s dad is on his deathbed! The two travel to England in hopes of securing his inheritance! Dad is the Duke of “Kentland”!
They are received by Lady Amberly, aka Eleanor Parker, aka THE FUCKING BARONESS FROM THE SOUND OF MUSIC!!! (Love Boat appearances = 3). She is ROCKING the purple (blue?) head to toe, and she is NOT PLEASED to have her hubby’s bastard showing up.
She introduces her poncy son, Philippe’s half-brother, Roger, along with his fiancée, Alicia — aka Olivia Hussey, aka JULIET.
On his way out, Philippe runs into the prime minister, Lord North, and the two argue about upstart-y commoners (Lord North)/power to the people (Philippe). Lord North is played by John Colicos, aka Baltar on the original Battlestar Galactica.
Philippe runs into Juliet(TM) while she’s out riding. She says she doesn’t love fiancé Roger, and asks Philippe to be her French loverrrrr. It’s hilarious, she asks him if he’s experienced and he gets all waggly-eyebrowed and says “enough” — yes, I’m sure your 5 minutes in the hayloft with Charlotte taught you everything you needed to know! The two get down to (implied) sexytimes. In the dirt.
LORNE FUCKING GREENE (Love Boat appearances = 3) shows up as “Bishop Francis.” He tries to set the Sacred Dad Letter of Inheritance on fire, but mom and Philippe save it.
Mom and Philippe go back to “Kentland.” DAD IS DEAD.
The Baroness(TM) swears that Philippe will never inherit, Roger is doubly pissed because he knows Philippe shagged Juliet(TM), Roger and Philippe fight, Philippe breaks Roger’s hand. Roger sets his one-eyed thug (why is this a theme?), played by Cameron Mitchell (lots of Westerns) to hunt down Philippe.
As they are leaving town, Juliet(TM) rides after them (in the same green riding habit) to tell Philippe that she’s Way Into Him, but she’s still marrying Roger. “WHERE will you go??” she asks him.
Philippe and mom head to London, where they are taken in by a printer (Donald Pleasence of The Great Escape and the Halloween movies):
and his busty wife. Philippe learns the printing trade and meets Benjamin Franklin (aka TOM FUCKING BOSLEY of Happy Days; Love Boat appearances = 5).
Philippe goes to visit Ben Franklin/Tom Bosely, who is having his “air bath.” He tries to sell Philippe on the colonies.
The one-eyed henchman attacks Philippe on his way home, and Philippe decides that he and Mom need to go to America. On their way to the port, their coach is attacked by various guys, including the one-eyed henchman, who Philippe shoots and kills.
At Bristol, Philippe talks a boat captain (HARRY MORGAN FROM MAS*H!! Love Boat appearances: 5) into taking him and Mom to America if he works for his passage.
Mom dies en route, but it’s boring.
- Love Boat appearances: 18
- Shitty wigs: 5
- Tits out: 3 pairs
- Actors who have made me keel over: 3
Tune in tomorrow for part 2 of my recap of The Kent Family Chronicles!