SNARK WEEK RECAP: The Kent Chronicles pt. 1

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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.

1978 The Bastard

However, this guy is my favorite. #BONERZ

Auvergne, France, 1771!

1978 The Bastard

I LOVES me some good date title cards! It helps make my scoffing that much more enthusiastic.

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??”

1978 The Bastard

I feel like there was a lot of blow-drying involved every morning.

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 [1963], nominated for The Subject Was Roses [1968], 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.

1978 The Bastard

Mom’s quilted petticoat clearly started as a blanket, Bonerz is team RenFaire Lace-Up Shirt.

Philippe haz a sad because of his fight, so heads to the barn where he runs into busty, drunken, slutty Charlotte.

1978 The Bastard

Can you guess where this is going?

1978 The Bastard

Charlotte has on hip pads and this weird leather underbust corset (let’s not even start on the cap, okay?).

1978 The Bastard

Yup, that’s a hayloft deflowering about to happen!

Philippe runs into a young Marquis de Lafayette. He saves the marquis from the two yokels he fought with earlier, shooting and killing one.

1978 The Bastard

The marquis…

1978 Return from Witch Mountain

… aka Ike Eisenmann, from Escape From Witch Mountain and Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan.

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!

1978 The Bastard

Mom also has a ginormous bun on the back of her head that in no way is anything ever worn in the 18th century.

Philippe is stoked about being an aristocrat. He and the marquis become #squadgoals, hanging out and shooting at the marquis’s estate.

1978 The Bastard

Rocking the powder blue Casa collection!

1978 The Bastard

I particularly enjoyed his weird poly-nylon clown ruff thingie.

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”!

1978 The Bastard

Mom wears an acceptable riding habit with a shitty-ass hat/scarf thing.

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.

1978 The Bastard

Wig! Spackle!

1978 The Bastard

Tiers of nylon lace! Mom’s EPIC skirt hiking!

1978 The Bastard

Sparkles!! Poly sheen!

1978 The Bastard

No corsetry was abused in the making of this film!

1978 The Bastard

VERY few stills are available from this series, but here’s one.

She introduces her poncy son, Philippe’s half-brother, Roger, along with his fiancée, Alicia — aka Olivia Hussey, aka JULIET.

1978 The Bastard
1978 The Bastard

Wait for it…

1968 Romeo and Juliet

Yeah.

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.

1978 The Bastard

Lord North is wearing a LOT OF MAUVE. Mom’s headscarf has ridiculous ball fringe.

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.

1978 The Bastard

Juliet(TM) is in a green, fur-trimmed riding habit.

1978 The Bastard

Rocking the Priscilla Presley hair and #TitsOut.

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.

1978 The Bastard

Bonanza. Battlestar Galactica.

Mom and Philippe go back to “Kentland.” DAD IS DEAD.

1978 The Bastard

The Baroness(TM) is wearing a preposterous “mourning” outfit with weird-ass head feathers.

1978 The Bastard

Half-brother Roger continues to rock the shitty wig, now with nylon lace bib.

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.

1978 The Bastard

Always a subtle look for a thug!

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.

1978 The Bastard

Philippe and mom head to London, where they are taken in by a printer (Donald Pleasence of The Great Escape and the Halloween movies):

1978 The Bastard

and his busty wife. Philippe learns the printing trade and meets Benjamin Franklin (aka TOM FUCKING BOSLEY of Happy DaysLove Boat appearances = 5).

1978 The Bastard

This production is very committed to underbust corsets.

Philippe goes to visit Ben Franklin/Tom Bosely, who is having his “air bath.” He tries to sell Philippe on the colonies.

1978 The Bastard

More of Tom Bosely than you ever wanted to see.

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.

1978 The Bastard

It’s not exciting.

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.

1978 The Bastard

Mom dies en route, but it’s boring.

1978 The Bastard

Ahoy matey?

Key stats:

  • 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!

 

 

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28 Responses

  1. pandaemonaeum

    Kentland???!!?
    I know, I know, this is what you took away from the pile of ridiculous nylon and piffle but KENTLAND???!!!!???

    Reply
        • Nzie

          Exactly, Lillian. OMG. And they picked the dumbest option. Pick something we haven’t all heard of and then add something other than “land” onto it. Bourgh/Burg? Shire? -ton?

          Reply
          • pandaemonaeum

            No, please don’t. Just consult Burke’s Peerage and pick something with a pin. We really do have enough ridiculous place names and outrageously silly titles without anyone ever having to make one up!

            Reply
            • Nzie

              That is entirely true, pandaemonium… I just figured they were clearly committed to not using a real place name since they picked literally the dumbest possible option of real-not real names. :-)

              Reply
    • HeidiAphrodite

      My ex-fiance “wrote” a “book” in which the lead character comes from a place called Cobblestown. I think his “process” went something like, “I need a name for this towne. What sounds olde timey? Oldtyme-ton? No. Oldenshire? No. Wait, what are streets made of in Olden Tymes? Cobblestones! I know! He lives in Cobblestown!” Or maybe he’s just an idiot.

      Reply
  2. picasso Manu

    Honest, I tried to “scroll for details” on a few of those… Baroness dress and mauve habit to be precise. I know, I know, I’m a sucker for punishment.

    Speaking of baroness, she seems to be sporting some coordinated (and iridescent) eyeshadow. Intrestin’

    Reply
  3. Gail Leoniak

    This was THE series that my Middle School girlfriends and I read. And we all watched the adaptation at the time. Bad costuming aside we all swooned over the actor.
    Thanks for the memory

    Reply
  4. Lillian

    YES! It’s finally snark week again. (I first discovered this site in February of 2018, so I’ve been waiting all year for this.)

    Reply
  5. LadySlippers

    My takeaway was simple: now I know where Lady Gaga drew inspiration for her blue dress/blue hair ensemble.

    The rest looks, ummmm, like it’s best not watched. Lol

    Reply
  6. Susan Pola Staples

    I believe I saw the Duchess’ purple poly Gown in either a Dead Can Dance video or an Adam Ant one.

    I’m so glad no corsets were hurt in the making of this. But The Bobby pin shortage strikes again.

    Reply
  7. Nzie

    Why are there so many actors I like in something so obviously schlocky and awful? And omg is there a single good costume choice anywhere? Ugh.

    Reply
  8. Karen K.

    This is too funny — it’s like the Love Boat, but with bad costumes. Those wigs are especially egregious. I can almost forgive Philip’s feathered hair because it looks better in comparison.

    Reply
  9. Elizabeth Mahon

    I read all the books in 6th or 7th grade and I remember watching this. Looking it now, it just seems utterly ridiculous. Oh and it wasn’t shown on any of the major networks. It was syndicated, and apparently all the money went to the actors and not on things like costumes. They clearly had to rent them for the 10th best costume house in London.

    Reply

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