SNARK WEEK RECAP: The Kent Chronicles pt. 5


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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, 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.

Here’s part 1part 2part 3, and part 4!

Peggy Comes To* Sonny Crockett (*romance novel language). She’s in Philadelphia with her husband and heard about him shagging all over town. “Why are you here?” he asks her. “Why do you THINK I’m here?” she declares. SEXYTIMES.

1979 The Rebels

Vaguely historically accurate calash bonnet ruined by cascading ringlets!

1979 The Rebels

I guess it’s a riding habit/redingote kind of thing?

1979 The Rebels

THE HAIR I DREAMED OF HAVING C. 1989 (when I was way into hair metal)!!!

As Peggy leaves, she’s accosted by some street thugs who want to rob her. Philip is randomly nearby, rescues her, and she runs off.

Jim Backus (THURSTON HOWELL III FROM GILLIGAN’S ISLANDLove Boat appearances = 2) as John Hancock get ornery at Sonny Crockett.

1979 The Rebels

Oh nice, Sonny brought his shitty ribbon rosette coat with him from Virginia!

Sonny sees Peggy’s husband slip a note to a sketchy looking woman!

1979 The Rebels


He follows her to the bar where she works, gives her some money to shag him, and then when they’re done, finds the note.

1979 The Rebels

Why support the boobs when they can just flop around, amirite?

Turns out Mr. Peggy is a traitor and was passing info to the Brits! Sonny confronts him in an alley, they fight, Mr. Peggy tells his henchman to shoot Sonny, but the henchman shoots Mr. Peggy accidentally instead.

1979 The Rebels

They were really going for HEIGHT on these hats, weren’t they!

Mr. Peggy is dead! But Peggy can’t believe her husband was a traitor! She runs into Sonny while wearing slutty mourning wear and tells him never to speak to her again.

1979 The Rebels

Keeping it tasteful.

ALL SORTS OF BORING THINGS HAPPEN WITH PHILIP, who does some kind of secret mission for George Washington and gets caught. The Brits sentence him to hang. At his hearing, the Duke of Kentland (pops; Love Boat appearances = 1) just randomly shows up!1979 The Rebels

1979 The Rebels

The Duke of KENTLAND. They didn’t try very hard with that, did they.

1979 The Rebels

Philip is sentenced by Wilfred Hyde-White (Col. Pickering in My Fair Lady) as Gen. Howe.

Long, complicated, boring scene as the Duke figures out Philip is his son (signet rings are involved, it is boring, I hit fast-forward). Philip gets off and heads back to Boston, where he opens a printing shop with another guy (Bobby Troup of Emergency!).

1979 The Rebels

In case that excites anyone.

In Boston, Philip recognizes Peggy as the mystery woman he rescued. He goes to say hi, and she is very “Thanks but go away.” Philip sees her OVERLY EMPHASIZED laced-front dress and dun dun DUN, Peggy is pregnant!

1979 The Rebels

Beads, ringlets, some kind of giant insect on her hat…

1979 The Rebels


Peggy is with her aunt, played by Anne Francis (Forbidden PlanetLove Boat appearances = 1).

1979 The Rebels

Love that brown lipstick trend of the late 18th century!

Philip and Sonny run into each other. Philip tells Sonny about this enticing woman he rescued and ran into, and that she’s pregnant. It’s clear that Philip is Into Her. SONNY KNOWS. He goes to visit Peggy at her aunt’s house:

1979 The Rebels

Auntie’s hair…

1979 The Rebels

… IS EPIC!!!

Peggy and Sonny reconcile.

1979 The Rebels


1979 The Rebels

Sonny wore his best orange for the occasion.

Sonny wants to marry Peggy, but she points out that everyone thinks her coming child is her ex-husband’s. She wants to wait till after the birth to get married.

1979 The Rebels


1979 The Rebels

Philip runs into the Marquis de Lafayette, recast with an older actor now and wearing VERY QUESTIONABLE MAKEUP CONSTANTLY. The two get their French on, hang out, and then lots of military/political shit happens that I care nothing about and mostly fast-forward.

1979 The Rebels

Is the shade off? Is it caked on too heavy?

1979 The Rebels

Why does he look burnt?

Peggy has her baby, she and Sonny write back and forth.

1979 The Rebels

“Dear Sonny, I put a lampshade on my head just to write you this letter.”

1979 The Rebels

“Dear Peggy, Sometimes I worry that your hair isn’t poufy enough.”

A WHOLE LOT of boring military shit happens, including some troop training by General Baron von Steuben. I fast-forward. At some point, Sonny Crockett dies, I was so bored that I didn’t catch why. As he dies, he makes Philip promise to take care of his mystery love without ever saying who she is.

1979 The Rebels

Zzzz don’t care.

There’s a big battle at Dorchester. Zzzzz still don’t care.

1979 The Rebels

Are they using iridescent glitter makeup now??

Philip attends a fancy dinner party:

1979 The Rebels

In his best Celtic trim coat.

1979 The Rebels

Oodles of poly baroque satin are in attendance.

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So is Peggy and her aunt!

Philip chats up Peggy, she says enough to help him figure out she’s Sonny’s girl, he hits on her.

1979 The Rebels


1979 The Rebels

A few Snark Weeks ago, I called it:

1979 The Rebels

This masterpiece of table linens still exists! It’s in the Larry McQueen Film Costume Collection.

1979 The Rebels


1979 The Rebels


And we jump to — the war is over! It’s 1781, and Philip and Peggy get married!

1979 The Rebels

Okay the hat is actually 1780s, I will give them that, even if Peggy can’t afford a new dress.

1979 The Rebels


1979 The Rebels

The narrator intones that their children will grow up in A New Country!

Key stats:

  • Love Boat appearances: only 4!
  • Shitty wigs: only 1!
  • Tits out: 5 pairs
  • Actors who have made me keel over: only 1!

And we’re out! Hope you enjoyed!


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17 Responses

  1. picasso Manu

    WOAH… They really upped their Hair game. And here I was, blissfully ignorant on how Elnett had cornered the 1780 market. Oh, well…

  2. Nzie

    What on earth is that weird lapel with the knot work look? I cannot get over it. And you’re totally right, that dress is totally a tablecloth.

    Also, the children just kind of disappear conveniently until it turns out it’s all to give them a new country? Hm.. Sure.

    Fom what I can tell, Philip is like a mixture of Johnny Tremaine, Davy Crockett, and Nathan Hale. Based on this and the knowledge that they go out to the frontier in the third season, my guess is he turns out to be Johnny Appleseed and Paul Bunyan, too.

  3. Shannon Hoover

    I just can’t hate the tablecloth dress. In fact I’m kind of in love with it’s fantastical “anthropomorphized teacup” aesthetic. Like I can totally imagine that’s what Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast would be wearing when she transforms back into a human.

  4. Donnalee

    A masterful effort! It reminds me of why I read a lot of Regency romances: barring actually-excellent ones like earlier Carla Kelly which feature insightful war and PTSD themes, we usually get only the last few minutes of the Napoleonic wars, like the June 1815 ball in Brussels the night before everyone gets called away for what eventually becomes Waterloo, some brief mention that the good British fighters are over in the US right that minute, and for the rest of it there are plenty of parties and balls and outfits and romances and catfights, and some smuggling and highwaymen for drama, and it all happens within 200 pages or less. That sort of length suits me fine. I could never have watched this whole series these days, so thank you for doing it for us and showing us the good bits and the naughty bits.

  5. pandorrah

    Having just recently done a re-watch of the KFC’s, I thoroughly enjoyed Kendra’s recap. I will now be basing my assessments of mini-series star-power on the “Love Boat Appearances” scale.

  6. Susan Pola Staples

    Why does Peggy’s hair remind me of a beauty pageant contestant?

  7. eldalorien

    The Marquis de Lafayette looks like one of the aliens from that alien nation show in a shitty wig.

  8. Karen K.

    Thank you for watching this shitshow so we don’t have to. You are doing God’s work, those screen caps are HILARIOUS.

  9. Richard Harper

    Hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but the wedding dress (one of a lady’s better dresses at the time, as the custom of wearing an all white dress didn’t occur until the 19th Century) was hand embroidered in Hong Kong for Mr. Dorleac. It was not a tablecloth as someone has told you and as you have described (if so it would have been a VERY LARGE table as there were over 15 yards of fabric involved).

    Secondly, he was the costume designer on the mini-series, not the hair dresser, so he therefore had very little to say about the anachronistic up-does that are seen on screen.

    Richard Harper
    Artistic Management: representing Jean-Pierre Dorleac