Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: The Kent Chronicles -- Part 2 (1979)

Remember when I reviewed The Kent Chronicles: Part 1? Well, my mom and I continued our way through The Kent Chronicles with the second part!

Box Art (edited)
Note: This review will contain spoilers from Part 1 without any warning (For Part 2 spoilers there will be a warning). If you do not want to spoil Part 1, do not read this review. If you would like to read the review for Part 1, click here!

During the events leading up to the Revolutionary War, Phillip Kent is happily married to Anne Ware, who is expected to give birth to a son soon, and is helping the colonies to work for independence. Meanwhile, after fighting in a duel to defend his honor, Judson Fletcher flees from the south to Boston and ends up joining the militia to fight for independence. There he meets Eph Tait, a poor man who taught himself medicine, and Phillip Kent.

Again, while there aren't any period drama actors in this movie, there are some well known Hollywood actors/actresses (though not as many as Part 1)

Actor/ActressCharacterAlso in...
Kim CattrallAnne Ware KentMy Boy Jack as Caroline Kipling
Don JohnsonJudson FletcherMiami Vice as Detective James Crockett
Jim BackusJohn HancockGilligan's Island as Thurston Howell III
Tom BosleyBenjamin FranklinHappy Days as Howard Cunningham, Father Dowling Mysteries as Fr. Frank Dowling
William ConradNarratorCannon as Frank Cannon

Judson defending his second man
in a duel.
New characters were added for Part 2 of The Kent Chronicles that Philip meets along the way: two characters, Judson Fletcher and Eff Tait, who become Philip's friends. Previously, Philip Kent was a bit of a ladies man in Part 1, but since he got married, it seemed like they transferred that role to Judson. It got pretty old quickly and even other characters were telling him that he better shape up since he's getting a reputation. But other than that, Judson wasn't a horrible character (though from what I read of the original book, he is a very unlikable character). Eph was a very reliable friend to Philip; they saved each other's lives a couple of time throughout the movie and they both cared for each other.

Phillip was more likable in Part 2 than Part 1. I think that when he got married and stopped being a ladies man, his character improved. He does go into a gloomy state Spoiler after Anne dies from a fever after giving birth to their son, Abraham End of Spoiler, but overall he is more of a likable character. Phillip realizes that he hasn't been there much for his young son, Abraham, since he was fighting in the Revolutionary War, but he constantly thinks of his son and makes sure that if he doesn't come back from the war that Abraham will be well taken care of.

General Washington
There were a couple of new historical characters added to The Kent Chronicles. Making a return is Benjamin Franklin, though he still had a creepy moment (but again, he was a bit of a creepy guy in real life). Though it may come as a surprise that Ben Franklin wasn't all that much involved in Phillip Kent's story line, but rather was more involved in Judson's story Spoiler after Judson gets elected to congress after being wounded. End of Spoiler We finally get to see characters such as George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson (heh, first three presidents), and we also see John Hancock, Henry Knox, and the Marquis de Lafayette (who also appeared in Part 1, but as a young boy/teenager; now he's more grown up and fighting in the Revolution. I would say with Part 2, we did get to see more of the historical characters than in Part 1, but the story wasn't about the historical characters, so alas they had a small part on screen.

Part 2 takes place entirely in colonial America, so it's pretty much the same as Part 1. Again, since The Kent Chronicles were filmed in the late 70s, the video quality isn't up to the standards of today, but I will say that it looked better than BBC miniseries made at the same time.

Okay, maybe a little of a spoiler,
but the costumes looked nice.
In this part, I had more issues with accuracy than Part 1. The story begins in 1775, but there were some women still wearing panniers/side hoops, which I believe were out of style at that point (and if I'm wrong, correct me, please). Now, you could argue that current fashions didn't get to the U.S. quickly enough so the panniers/side hoops didn't go away as fast as in Europe, but the other argument would be that would women have spent money on panniers/side hoops during the Revolutionary war? Maybe, but I didn't find that quite believable. I'm not an expert on Colonial American fashion, so if you have anything to add about this, feel free to leave a comment.

Other than that, the costumes looked nice and were well constructed. The men's costumes looked pretty much the same (hey, in history, once you've seen one man's outfit, you mostly have seen them all). There were both civilian outfits and military outfits for the men.

Unlike the harpsichord music that was in Part 1, Part 2 had regular soundtrack music, which sounded more like a movie than period music. I don't remember the music being bad, but it was unmemorable (yet again).

Overall: 3.75/5
I would say that Part 2 was as good as Part 1, though part of me favors Part 1 a little more (but then, I nearly always prefer the first part of any series. The plot was maybe not as interesting as the first part, but it was still good. The only issue I had was that it got a little long on some of the war parts (but then, it is technically a war movie). But other than that, it was a good movie.

As far as content goes, as with Part 1, Part 2 I would say is PG-13. There are some more mature scenes (though not graphic), and there is talk about scandal around. There is some swearing (again, nothing too horrible), and there is also some violence.

The Kent Chronicles is available on DVD. Part 2 runs for 240 minutes.

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