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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Thorn Birds - It's Wonderful!!, 13 Dec. 2007
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This review is from: The Thorn Birds [DVD] (DVD)
This mini series spans three generations of the Cleary family from the 1920's to the 1960's. At the head of the family is Mary Carson,a widow and the owner of Drogheda the largest sheep station in New South Wales. She is also probably the richest woman in Australia. Despite her advancing age she falls in love with the new priest Father Ralph de Bricassart. He is young,handsome and charismatic,but above all,ambitious. Richard Chamberlain plays this part to perfection,and Barbara Stanwyck gives a scintillating performance as the increasingly malicious and vengeful aging spurned woman.

This malice knows no bounds when her brother and his family come to work for her. She sees that Father Ralph is drawn to her niece Meggie,only a child,and played by Sydney Penny with a touching innocence. They are attracted to each other,but when Meggie grows up into a beautiful woman, now played by Rachel Ward,Mary Carson puts into action her plan to destroy Ralph. She is very perceptive,and writes a second will in which she leaves all - £13 million - to the Catholic Church so long as it appreciates the worth and ability of Ralph de Bricassart. She opens the way for him to realize his ambitions,and hopefully forget Meggie.

Yes,Ralph does realize his ambition to rise within the Church,but he cannot forget Meggie. Time and again he has reason to return to Drogheda and each time they meet he has to tear himself away from her saying that he loves God more. It is heartbreaking to watch some of these scenes. Eventually Meggie realizes that she will never marry Ralph and so marries Luke O'Neill,a visiting sheep shearer. They are not really suited and after their daughter Justine is born she leaves him. But not before she and Ralph spend a wonderful stolen time together on an island. This is the last time they will see each other for nearly twenty years,and in the meantime Meggie gives birth to their son Dane. She does not tell Ralph. She is fulfilled now with Dane. But another black cloud looms on the horizon,and history is about to repeat itself. Dane wants to become a priest. Poor Meggie. She has already given up the man she loves to God and now she is being asked to sacrifice her son too. In the end she sends him to Ralph,now a Cardinal at the Vatican. He grows very close to Dane and ordains him. He is shattered when Dane drowns in Greece. He travels to Drogheda to conduct his funeral,even though he is in his seventies and in poor health. His death follows shortly afterwards,precipitated no doubt by Meggie finally telling him that Dane was their son.

This mini series is one of the best ever,if not the best. It has such a wonderful story with so many interesting relationships and twists and turns within them. The acting is superb. Jean Simmons as Fee, Meggie's mother is very convincing as the repressed and stoic wife and mother. And then there is Christopher Plummer as Cardinal Vittorio,Ralph's mentor. He plays his part with great understanding of Ralph's sadness and conflict of mind. But of course it is Richard Chamberlain's portrayal of Ralph that dominates. He plays the part so convincingly through the decades, from the young energetic Father Ralph of the Australian Outback to the gracefully aging Cardinal de Bricassart of the Vatican. Superb!!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Jul 2014 10:32:05 BDT
Katie says:
You are supposed to review the book, not give away the entire plot. Other people may not have read it yet!
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