Note: All three parts of the Kent Chronicles have names, but since the name of the first one might make some people uncomfortable (not anything extremely horrible and it can be heard in other period dramas, but it is a bit of a vulgar term), I'm going to refer to each part as Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
|Box Art (edited)|
In a poor French village, a man named Phillipe Charboneau, the natural son of an English duke and a French actress, is told by his mother, Marie, that his father will leave him half his estate when he dies and produces an official document to prove it. When the Duke falls ill, Phillipe and Marie travel to the duke's estate Kentland so that Phillipe would be officially recognized as his son. However, the duchess and Phillipe's half brother, Roger, stand opposed to him and don't let Phillipe see his father. Choosing not to abandon the claim, Marie and Phillipe stay in the village, but when an altercation occurs, they flee to London and eventually Phillipe flees to America where he meets many of the Revolutionary War patriots.
There might not be the all British actors that you might easily recognize from other period dramas in this miniseries, but there are a bunch of Hollywood actors/actresses you may recognize.
|Tom Bosley||Benjamin Franklin||Happy Days as Howard Cunningham, Father Dowling Mysteries as Fr. Frank Dowling|
|Kim Cattrall||Anne Ware||My Boy Jack as Caroline Kipling|
|Buddy Ebsen||Benjamin Edes||The Beverly Hillbillies as Jed Clampett|
|Lorne Green||Bishop Francis||Bonanza as Ben Cartwright, Battlestar Gallatica (1978) as Commander Adama|
|Olivia Hussey||Alicia||Romeo and Juliet (1968) as Juliet|
|Donald Pleasance||Solomon Sholto||The Barchester Chronicles as Mr. Septimus Harding|
|William Shatner||Paul Revere||Star Trek as Captain James T. Kirk, T.J. Hooker as Sgt. T.J. Hooker|
|John de Lancie||Lt. Stark||Star Trek: The Next Generation as Q|
|Alan Napier||Dr. Bleeker||Batman (1966) as Alfred|
|Raymond Burr||Narrator||Perry Mason as Perry Mason|
|Phillipe Charboneau/Philip Kent|
We don't get to see too much of the Amberlies, Phillipe's father's family. They are often talked about, but they get relatively short screen time. After Phillipe and Marie leave England to go to America, we do get to see Roger as a British officer, Spoiler but we don't get to see him much before he is killed. End of Spoiler So, while the Amberlies are the main adversaries to Phillipe (not counting the British soldiers that he encounters), we don't get to see them all that much.
I liked how there were a lot of historical characters in this movie along with fictional characters. You get a sense of that the historical characters possibly were like. However, I felt like while I got to see a lot of historical figures, I didn't really get a chance to get to know them. It would have been nice if there was more time to see Phillipe interact with the historical figures one on one, but it sadly didn't happen.
There's a wide range of scenery in this part of The Kent Chronicles. The story takes place from a poor village in France, to an estate used for Kentland in England, to the colonies that would become the United States of America. The filmography itself wasn't anything amazing (it was a 70s TV movie after all), but it was good enough. The film quality, I would say, is better than BBC miniseries from the same time.
Poor costumes, rich costumes, and middle class costumes are present throughout the movie. This movie takes place in the 1770s and leads up to the start of the Revolutionary War. So plenty of Georgian fashions to be sure. For the most part, I didn't have too much to complain about as far as accuracy goes. Though I'm not sure that some of the women were wearing the proper stays from the era. Other than that, the costuming was nice to look it.
Phillipe starts out with poorer clothes, but his clothes become nicer as the movie progresses. His clothes only get really fancy once when the character Alicia buys him some nice clothes, but other than that since he went into a trade in America he doesn't have the fanciest clothes.
|Alicia, put up your hair like a Georgian|
The American fashions were simpler than the European fashions. Anne Ware's (Phillip's fiance) gowns were plainer, but they were still nice. Her hair was actually up (Alicia, take notice). Though I thought she looked pretty young to be someone past marrying age. The American men had on middle class clothes: they weren't fancy like the English fashions, but they weren't poor either.
The music was okay, though not really memorable. If it was on a CD, I probably wouldn't get the CD. A lot of harpsichord music was used to keep with the time period and give the setting a 1700s feel to it.
I enjoyed Part 1. The story line was an interesting one and gave me a little insight into the Revolutionary War. The cast had a lot of easily recognizable actors, which made the opening credits fun. They probably could have done without a couple of unnecessary scenes, though. But I still enjoyed Part 1. Keep an eye out for my Part 2 review.
While there is no rating, I would say that part 1 of The Kent Chronicles is PG-13... easily. There is some violence where some people get killed (though the acting in those parts is not very good, so it's not as realistic as it could have been). There is also some adult themes (with some scenes) scattered throughout the movie. There is some swearing throughout the movie. Also, there is one scene where we realize that Benjamin Franklin was a little strange...not a horrible scene, but he was an odd fellow.
The Kent Chronicles is available on DVD. Part 1 runs for 240 minutes with an intermission in the middle.
And okay, for those who wanted to know what Lorne Green and Donald Pleasance looked like, here are some pictures of them in Part 1:
|Lorne Green (Ben Cartwright from Bonanza) as Bishop Francis). He was only in there for one scene, though, so he shouldn't really be considered a star or anything.|
|Donald Pleasance (Mr. Harding from The Barchester Chronicles) as Solomon Sholto. He was a sweet, old man in here like he was in The Barchester Chronicles (though, from what I understand, he got mostly creepy roles as an actor).|