THE LAST CONVERTIBLE ~ (1979) ~ Classic Miniseries ~ Perry King, Deborah Raffin, Bruce Boxleitner, Edward Albert, Sharon Gless, John Shea, Michael Nouri
Anton Myrer's novel “ The Last Convertible ”, now a three-part miniseries, is less an exploration than reconstruction. Designed as a tribute to the generation that matured in the 40's and 50's, the story offers a 1938 Packard Super 8 convertible as a symbol for “a golden dream of youth, of careless freedom, of personal style.
The story actually opens in 1969. A young man is asking his godfather, “Who's my real father?” The older man gets into the remarkably well preserved convertible and goes for a ride. The rest is flashback, beginning in 1990 when he arrives as a freshman at Harvard and becomes part of a close‐knit group known as the “Five Fusiliers.”
The five neatly represent different social backgrounds and types. George, the godfather‐to‐be, ( Bruce Boxleitner ) is the earnest scholarship student. Russ ( Perry King ) is wealthy, handsome and a budding writer. Dalrymple ( Edward Albert ), from a nouveau riche background, is as insecure as he is ambitious. Perry ( John Shea ) is a wealthy Irish‐American in the style, but not the charisma, that suggests the name Kennedy. And Jean ( Michael Nouri ) is the good‐looking, sophisticated outsider, a native of France given to dire predictions about Hitler.
The convertible belongs to Jean. When he announces that he is going to join the De Gaulle forces in Africa, the others draw straws for possession of the car. Over the years, the gleaming machine passes from one to the other of the gang of five.
Meanwhile, the dramatic vehicle is stuffed with plot complications and period detail. Chris ( Deborah Raffin ) is the beautiful Radcliffe student who, to varying degrees, becomes involved in the lives of all five men. Kay ( Sharon Gless ) goes to Wellesley and, perhaps significantly, serves as the vicious bitch of the piece. Ann ( Kim Darby ) marries the Irish‐American for better or worse, but when he goes off to war, she quickly drifts into an affair.
The performances are generally strong and — in the cases of the Messrs. King, Boxleitner and Albert —even impressive. But the entire panorama floats by the small screen like some gussied‐up soap opera.
- Perry King ... Russ Currier
- Deborah Raffin ... Chris Farris
- Bruce Boxleitner ... George Virdon
- Edward Albert ... Ron Dalrymple
- Sharon Gless ... Kay Haddon
- John Shea ... Terry Garrigan
- Michael Nouri ... Jean RGR des Barres
- Caroline Smith ... Nancy Van Breymer
- Kim Darby ... Ann Rowan
- Pat Harrington Jr. ... Major Fred Goodman
- John Houseman ... Dr. Wetherell
- Martin Milner ... Sergeant Dabric
- Vic Morrow ... Chief Lonborg
- Stuart Whitman ... Colonel Hiram Elkhart
ABOUT THE CAPTURE
* (The runtime provided in the IMDB shows 360m; however, that includes commercials as this miniseries aired during three nights for two-hours per evening (120 X 3 =360m. The runtime listed below is the actual runtime without commercials.) (A-)
Format: DVD (on 3 DVDs)
Run time: 285m*
B&W / Color: Color