Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 22 August 2014

A '70s hit TV series: Lee Remick as Jennie

JENNIE, LADY RANDOLPH CHURCHILL, 1974. We have just watched all seven episodes of this well-regarded British TV series where Lee Remick plays Jennie Jerome, the mother of Winston Churchill (as did Anne Bancroft in YOUNG WINSTON). Remick won a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for her performance ranging from the young Jennie dancing at Cowes Sailing Week, where she first meets Lord Randolph Churchill (Ronald Pickup) as he and Jennie hit it off right away. Jennie has always been the most headstrong of father Dan O’Herlihy’s daughters as she makes it clear she won’t be stopped from marrying Churchill. The episodes are engrossing, but it all has that curiously flat look of ‘70s television, still this was made 40 years ago, thankfully television productions look better these days.

Locations include the opulent Blenheim Palace, and supporting cast includes Rachel Kempson, Barbara Parkins, Thorley Walters, Cyril Luckham, Sian Phillips as s very devious Mrs Patrick Campbell, plus Jeremy Brett and Christopher Cazenove as further beaus as Jennie's colorful life unfolds. It could have done with a more forceful Lord Randolph (Attenborough’s was Robert Shaw) and Warren Clarke is not a very charismatic young Winston, but this is Remick’s show and she carries it all as she ages from 19 to old age. - poignant seeing their version of her as an old lady as of course Lee died aged 55, and its certainly a tour de force for her to hold the whole series together. The later episodes are amusing as the older Jennie marries twice more, sets up and manages a hospital ship, writes a play and continues to have admirers. Written by Julian Mitchell and direted by James Cellan Jones (who also directed Remick's BBC 'Play of the Month' THE AMBASSADORS)
The DVD blurb states: Famed for her beauty and intelligence, the vivacious, American-born Jennie was a driving force in the lives of her husbands and sons; it was at her dining table and in her salon that the young Winston met and conversed with the most brilliant political figures of the age. Jennie recognised her son's genius for politics and was able to nurture and foster it, and Sir Winston would repeatedly pay homage to her energy, courage and dedication. In portraying Jennie, acclaimed American actress Lee Remick fulfilled an enduring and dearly-held wish. 
First screened in 1974 a part of celebrating Churchill's centenary year, this stunning biographical drama charts all the major events in Jennie's life. Award-winning costumes and location scenes that include the splendour of Blenheim Palace, lend a striking authenticity. Among other awards James Cellan Jones won a Directors' Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, and in 1991, in one of her last public appearances, Lee Remick's achievement was honoured by the presentation of the International Churchill Society's twelfth Blenheim Award.
Soon: another '70s British costume drama boxset marathon with Francesca Annis as Lily Langtry, the Jersey Lily, in LILLIE, with Peter Egan as a splendid Oscar Wilde ... 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds awesome. Hoping my library will have it. Thanks.