10B THE BRAZOSPORT FACTS Friday, November 11,1994 Scarlett resembles international soap opera Sequel-based story misuses good actors By SCOTT WILLIAMS AP Television Writer NEW YORK — Look your last on Tara, viewers, and don't set your hopes too high for Scarlett, a $45 million miniseries with 30 cents worth of ideas. CBS' eight-hour, four-night sequel to Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind starts Sunday and concludes Wednesday. It is simply not worth your time, despite a fine performance by Joanne Whalley-Kilmer in the title role. As Scarlett O'Hara, Whalley- Kilmer re-creates one of pop culture's most enduring characters, and invests her with the selfishness und drive that made Scarlett so memorable. As Rhett Butler, former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton creates a character who has become the sort of chap who likes lo be received in society, but prefers to roll up his sleeves and eat in the kitchen with the whores. Their competent performances, unfortunately, are undone by a shabby, incoherent script. William Hanley's flaccid screenplay is a hopelessly padded adaptation of romance writer Alexandra Ripley's novel, trashed by The Associated Press as 1991's "worst book of the year." An ingenious writer might have figured out new romance and adventure for Scarlett and the great cad Rhett. Think of the hardscrabble, ugly American era of the Reconstruction South or the West or Lhe North! Instead, Rhett and Scarlett are kept asunder by an absurd series of misunderstandings, misgivings, contrived conflicts and cheap plot tricks that seem fundamentally unequal to the task of keeping them apart. Nothing will suffice for Scarlett but to bundle our heroine around the South in a series of near-ritual humiliations. Scorned by "polite society," Scarlett must go abroad, to live among the countryfolk of Ireland and the genteel snobs of Victorian London. Perhaps a taste of the first episode will show you how Scarlett went wrong: Remember, our story opens the day after Rhctl has walked out on Scarlett, who is refusing to divorce him and determined still to win him back. Ah, but no. Scarlett scandalizes Atlanta with her tender consolation of grieving Ashley Wilkes (Stephen Collins in his EIGHTH miniseries!) at the grave of his wife, Melanie. Scarlett accepts censure and troops gamely back to Tara. There, her visit to the deathbed of faithful servant Mammy (Esther Rolle of Good Times') marks the first of many pointless guest shots that last.only seconds. In a matter of minutes, the scheming Scarlett has kicked off the dust of Tara, her sacred plantation home. She will return only once, for a final farewell. No, but it's off to Rhett's hometown, Charleston, S.C., where she is received by his mother, who is unaware of the rift between them. Rhett and Scarlet go sailing ... and ... oh, what's the use? The guest stars, considering their marquee value, have pathetically little to do. Ann-Margret could have phoned in her role as the madame Belle Walling. Sir John Gielgud, at 90, commands the little screen for five minutes and is seen and heard no more. Julie Harris as Rhett's mother, Eleanor, has a bit more work, but her role is still limited. Only Colm Meaney (best- known as Chief O'Brien of Star Trek: The Next Generation) has any scope. He plays Scarlett's cousin, the priest Colum O'Hara, a Fenian activist, who actually grows as a character. Sean Bean plays Richard, Earl of Fenton, a thorough cad and bounder whose base nature is immediately made known to us, but concealed from Scarlet. In the late going, there is a scene of sexual assault that would be powerful and upsetting if it weren't absurdly impossible. A fourth-act murder trial is equally absurd, but if you've stayed with Scarlett that long, you're a lost cause. Still, if you feel you must see Scarlett, tune in the first episode Sunday night. You'll see how Joanne Whalley-Kilmer and Timothy Dalton star in the miniseries Scarlett, based on Alexandra Ripley's best-selling sequel to Gone With The Wind, which begins Sunday on CBS. Whalley-Kilmer and Dalton's performances help bring the story to life and how the script quickly suffocates them. It won't take you long to spot the extra characters, the childish plot lines, the wasted production values and the missed opportunities. Frankly, viewers, I really don't think you'll give a damn. Elsewhere in television ... UNSOLVED MARKS 200th: NBC's Unsolved Mysteries marks its 200th "solve" at 7 p.m. tonight with the emotionally 'charged reunion of two Vietnam veterans, Mitchell Shigemoto and James Pearson. The two men became close friends during nine months of combat in 1965-66, when Shigemoto was wounded and Pearson saved his life. Over the years, Shigemoto and his wife, Connie, tried unsuccessfully to find Pearson through the Department of Defense, Veteran's Administration. Only an April 1994 Unsolved Mysteries broadcast helped end the search. LUMBER AND HOME IMPROVEMENT CENTERS We've cooked tit; some GREAT B Wood Products mi - _ 36" ROUND DROPLEAF TABLE Alder hardwood, turned pedestal, 1 y«" thick top, solid oak slides. Ready to assemble & finish. #364W 3046406 CEILING FANS 3 speeds forward & reverse, wired for light kit. Pull chain switch. Limited ^warranties*. 95 36" SPINNER 4 blades, cane inserts, Schoolhcuse light, white. #RC36WW4CI_K 1652593 95 FOLDING ATTIC STAIRWAY Add extra storage in your attic. Allows . easy access. Up to 8'9' piling unit. Preassembled. #444 775247 195 3 TULIP FAN LIGHT KIT 4 tulip light shades bright brass finish. #LK11AB 14?1767 95 SCHOOLHOUSE CEILING FAN LIGHT KIT Pull chain bright brass finish. 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Bramport BW. 71M42-44W 713-337-6527 409-265-2110 R«g. Hour*: Monday-Friday: 7:30 •m-8:00 pm ftaturc 36"X80" 2058634 59 95 HOUSTON SPRING 7502W*MngloflAw. 22411 WghwyTS North 7134W-4611 713-3534000 y:7:30 •m-6:OO pm Sunday: 0:00 am-6:001 BAY CITY 5000 7ft Sir* 40*244-4900 Lumber & Home Improvement Centers •Complete warranty informalion available at the service center. Product illustration are representative and may vary slightly from actual merchandise. We reserve the right to limit quantities. Not responsible for printing errors. Prices subject to change without notice. Dear Abby Abigail Van Bur«n Couple abuse generosity of friends with 'showers' DEAR ABBY: I recently attended a shower for a couple who were married only eight months ago. Two months after their wedding, the house they were renting burned to the ground, and they lost everything they owned. The people in the community, as well as their co-workers, family and friends, responded immediately with money, food and clothing. (Following the fire, they had moved into her parents' home with no expenses whatsoever.) They have been given two "replacement showers" to replace the gifts they had received from the four or five showers prior to their wedding. (I had attended one.) I recently learned that they were fully insured and have been compensated for everything they lost. Now they are preparing to move into a very expensive home they're building. I'll probably be invited to a housewarming next — and most likely to one of the many baby showers for the child they are expecting in four months. I don't mind helping people in time of need, but don't you think these "replacement showers" were tacky and a bit much to ask of people who had already given and done so much? — APPALLED DOWN SOUTH DEAR APPALLED: It was indeed tacky for the couple to have accepted two "replacement showers," knowing that their losses were completely covered by insurance. Shame on them. When the news of their reimbursement gets out (and it will), many other will be "Appalled Down South." Universal Press Syndicate Jazz singer McRae dies at 74 BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Carmen McRae, the veteran jazz singer hailed for her innovative scat singing and skillful vocal technique, has died. She was 74. McRae died at 9 p.m. Thursday at her home, family members and her secretary said. She had fallen into a semi-coma four days earlier, a month after she was hospitalized for a stroke, said her secretary and friend of 26 years, Jan March. "She said, 'I don't want a memorial. I don't want a funeral. I don't want flowers. All I want to be remembered for is my music,"' March said. "That was her whole world." Last December, the National Endowment for the Arts named McRae one of its "masters of jazz." A citation hailed her "instinctive feeling for rhythm, her skillful vocal technique, her innovative scat singing, as well as her relaxed manner of presentation." She was an accomplished piano player as well as singer. Real World actor dies MIAMI (AP) — Pedro Zamora, who got the AIDS virus as a teen-ager and dedicated his life to educating the public about the disease, died early today. He was 22. Zamo.ra, who was featured on MTV's video verite The Real World, died at 4:40 a.m. at Mercy Hospital, said Lori Hay, nursing supervisor. Zamora got HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, when he was 17. A gifted speaker, he went on a lecture tour, telling audiences at high schools and other organizations that he was infected through unprotected sex. He testified at a congressional hearing, gave interviews and made a television commercial about AIDS for the federal Centers for Disease Control.
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