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Keeping the Faith, with Herman Wouk
on 30 November 2005
Of all the adaptations of literature for motion pictures and television that I've seen, folks, this one scores a 95%, with most other adaptations doing at best, say 73%, in regards to plot, character exposition, and the author's intent. It was most magnaminious of Mr. Dan Curtis to have Herman Wouk as an executive member of the team (TELEPLAY).
I'm sure that you fellow Mitchum fans savor the way his characters come into a mediocre namby-pamby situation, and shake 'em on down! He doesn't disappoint as Pug. If you read the story, you could easily shoehorn Bob Mitchum into your imagination's eye.
Polly Bergen's "Rho" is the comic relief to the saga, worrying more about her hair style, and intramural competion with other Navy and Marine Corps wives, to jockey their husband's careers to the most prestigious heights, rather than being concerned with the increasingly odious global events racing down upon her family and world. Just as Mr. Wouk intended.
Ali McGraw's "Natalie" is full of delicious spunk and mischief, as she teases, and then draws in, Jan-Michael Vincent's "Briny". She Keeps the Faith with Mr. Wouk's "Natalie", who incidentally, is my favorite literary heroine.
The cinematography is picture-postcard breathtaking; you almost forget you're watching the small screen and believe you're at your favorite silver screen palace. Fits in nicely with Mr. Wouk's crisp, concise, ultra-vivid, descriptive narrative style.
The choreography of the extras and the aircraft pilots was impeccable. These were the unsung heroes/heroines of this production.
The Nazi/German/Japanese villains were most hideously brutal of any production that I've seen anywhere. For example, Herr Meisner's "Hitler" captures the monster's mincing mannerisms perfectly. The best Hitler I've seen; even better than Richard Basehardt's (1961), who did a fine job in his own right.
Herman Wouk himself plays a cameo in the story, as Dr. Jastrow's friend, the Archbishop of Sienna.
Finally, Dan Curtis had come an astonishingly long ways from the low-budget "Dark Shadows" days (for those of you who have seen old "Yank" telly shows). Like night and day. Keep an eye out for Ms. Barbara Steele, who a few years later, would play Dr. Julia Hoffmann, M.D., in the "Dark Shadows" NBC TV revival!