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They Might Be Giants … Movie Review

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In addition to those epics with a strong romantic element (like Reds) included in other chapters, additional epics that emphasize romance would include The Thorn Birds, the 1983 mini-series from the novel by Colleen McCul-lough featuring one of the last performances by Barbara Stanwyck and one of the first by Rachel Ward. The 486-minute series is a dynastic story set in the Australian outback, Rome, and Greece with Richard Chamberlain as a priest who falls in love with Ward. The series also features Jean Simmons, Ken Howard, Mare Winningham, Richard Kiley, Piper Laurie, Bryan Brown, and Christopher Plummer. Another familiar romantic epic, Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina, has been filmed as least ten times with silent versions in 1914 (a Russian film), 1915, and 1918 (a Hungarian film). Love (1927), a silent film with Greta Garbo and John Gilbert, puts this story of a woman's love affair with a military man in a modern setting but is much less effective than the MGM sound remake from 1935, which returns to the time of the novel and again stars Garbo, Fredric March (as Vronsky), and Basil Rathbone. A 1948 version with Vivian Leigh and Ralph Richardson, another Russian version in 1967, a BBC mini-series (with Nicola Pagett and Eric Porter) in 1977, a made-for-television adaptation in 1985 with a surprisingly good cast (Jacqueline Bisset, Christopher Reeve, Paul Schofield, Anna Massey), and a 1997 version (with Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean) complete the roster, we think, of this durable romantic classic.

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