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Centennial: The Complete Series
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A remarkably ambitious and engrossing project, this 1978 television miniseries ran 26-and-a-half hours, cost a then-enormous $25 million, and involved 4 directors, 5 cinematographers, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 speaking parts. Based on James Michener's panoramic bestseller about the settling of the American West--as reflected in the history of a fictional town called Centennial, Colorado--the story begins in the late 18th century and ends with a typical 20th century conflict over land usage. Centennial, however, largely concentrates on various memorable frontiersmen, trappers, Indians, ranchers, cowboys, and farmers from long ago. Richard Chamberlain shines as the pioneer Alexander McKeag, Robert Conrad does some of his best work as French-Canadian Pasquinel, and performances by Alex Karras, Chad Everett, Sally Kellerman, Raymond Burr, Richard Crenna, David Janssen, and Dennis Weaver effectively add to a tapestry of adventure, tragedy, violence, and dubious Western progress. Produced at a time when TV networks were in the throes of acknowledging America's history of racial injustice, the program paints a starkly villainous portrait of opportunists exploiting and destroying Indians in the name of manifest destiny. While the project's great length might make one wary of diving in, Centennial is the sort of carefully paced drama that makes one care about the intertwined destinies of unique characters and how they illuminate America's past. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This ambitious effort, based on the James Michener novel of the same name, attempts to cover the history of the state of Colorado, from the days of the Native Americans to the political/environmental dealings of modern times. Clocking in at 24 hours, it's probably safe to say that rarely has so much effort been put into the television medium. Unfortunately, "Centennial" would have been better served to cut it's running time in half.
The first five episodes of "Centennial," dealing with the settling of the American frontier and the eventual clash between pioneers and Native Americans, are some of the finest hours ever produced for television. This 1978 miniseries provides an early sympathetic view of the Native American, from the appealing chief Lame Beaver, played convincingly by Michael Ansara, to his daughter Clay Basket sympathetically played by Barbara Carrera. Throw into this mix the stormy relationship of trappers Pasquinel (Robert Conrad) and McKeag (Richard Chamberlain), and you have great drama on the untamed frontier. Their lives, and the rustic, changing world in which they live, makes for terrific historical fireworks.
Of course, Conrad's performance as Pasquinel, a colorful and memorable character if ever there was one, is one of the finest of his erratic career. As soon as his character leaves the film, there is an emptiness to the drama which is never quite replaced. And this emptiness damages the overall memory of this western epic.
Episode five, which details the disturbing true-life incident of the Sand Creek Massacre, in which hundreds of Native Americans were brutally murdered, is probably the last hurrah of "Centennial.Read more ›
It charts over 200 years of American history using the many characters to tell the story through their experiences. Starting in the late Eighteenth Century we first meet Pasquinelle, a French trapper who started trading with various Indian tribes like the Arapaho. He uses brawn, brain and guts to overcome the many barriers he must face and also marries one of his new Native American friends - Clay basket (great name) and saves a Scottish Trapper McKeeg (Richard Chamberlain doing a worse Scots accent than Mr Gibson did in `Braveheart') . What follows from the progeny is a tale of love from the daughters and hate from the half breed sons, who follow the Indian path which ultimately leads to war in a futile attempt to protect their land from the ever encroaching and greedy white settlers.
This is a 26 hour long production set in 12 episodes which are all in fact self contained films in their own right, and I found them to be ruddy addictive.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Although an "old" series, I am watching it for the first time. The story, although a bit cumbersome in places, does move along quite nicely for the most part with some... Read morePublished 12 months ago by MISTYRIVER
I truly loved this series, especially the first set, I have passed this on to younger members of the family as they never really sit and watch this kind of show. Read morePublished on June 3 2014 by email@example.com
Watched the dvd's a few times since purchasing. Its a great show, and the discs and case are all in excellent condition!Published on Feb. 7 2014 by Michael V. Lucas
I had watched this years ago when it was on tv as a mini series, watched again and enjoyed it ever more. Really good story, and very interesting. Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2014 by Cindy Hefferan
Wonderful historically relevant series. Even my wife (who is not big on this type of movie) loved it. Highly recommended.Published on Dec 19 2013 by Ted Benson
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