Dan Curtis 1983 and 1988
Edmond De Luca. That was his name. He was a composer who in the early 60’s released an album of classical music called ” Conquerors of the Ages” My uncle when I was very young had purchased this and played it for my family on a visit to their home. Now this was very unusual. I do not want to give the impression my family sat around and played classical music for each other. In my entire life this was THE ONLY time classical music was even brought up. But he recommended it. And my Dad purchased it. And played it quite a bit. When I was young.
The tracks of this works each had to do with a “Conqueror” in various times in history. The last one left the biggest impression on me. The last one had to do with… Adolph Hitler. With an anthem that built slowly and a large crowd that chants “Sieg Heil” thru it it my young imagination ran wild and I ran to my grandmother and asked her what this was. Being German, She knew all to well.. And she explained it to me. In no time at all i was marching around the house doing the salute and yelling” Sieg Heil” . Well this did not sit well with my Father. Who had fought in WW2. As kids we played war in the neighborhood. When My Mom took me to buy a helmet and WW2 weapon I came home with a german Helmet and Lugar. Again my Father was not pleased.
As I grew older I started to seek out more and more information about the War. I wanted to learn more of the details. I wanted to learn where my dad had served ( My dad had passed in 1973). As i learned more and more, I heard about the Holocaust. I figured this was just another cost of War.
I started to read history books. I started to watch movies. Then I came across the DVD’s of this Mini series from Television in the 80’s. So I rented. And started watching. Winds of War was good. I enjoyed it. Then Came War and remembrance. And one scene. That hit me like a sledgehammer. The most CHILLING scene and recreation Ever put to film. It showed, a “special action”.
When Dan Curtis created these mini series. he told ABC that he would pull no punches. And he would only make them his way. And what he created was a chilling retelling of the Holocaust. And what actually happened. This was not A normal Cost of War. This was a tragedy. This was an Abomination. This was one of THE BIGGEST crimes against humanity ever created. And this complete mini series was the one of the few television events that shaped my life. It was so hard to break from my feelings of when I was young. But the scenes brought me to tears. And changed me forever.
As far as the actual mini series, Winds of War for me was more enjoyable. But by just a hair. So many scenes of what Berlin was like before and during the war made this the better experience for me. War and Remembrance covered more ground. And had the incredible Holocaust scenes. And we watched one character go from life to…well…watch it.
Robert Mitchum is stoic and perfect as Pug. Got to meet all the main characters of the war which brought the history to life.
Polly Bergen is a little over the top . But ok in her role as his wife.
Jan Michael Vincent is ok as the one son. He is replaced by Hart Bochner as the character in the second series.
Ali MacGraw plays Natalie Jastrow. Ali MacGraw cannot act. Either that or she is horribly miscast . She makes Jan Michael Vincent look like Olivier. She is replaced by Jane Seymour in the second series. And She is Amazing in the role.
The whole 45 hours plays as 50% history lesson, and 50% soap opera. It made for great television. And a great learning experience.And one I revisit every year.
It also features John Houseman, Lisa Eilbacher,David Dukes, Topol, Ben Murphy, Peter Graves,Jeremy kemp, Victoria Tennan, Steven Berkoff, Robert Hardy, John Gielgud, And Ralph Bellamy.