Thursday, June 2, 2011
The Thorn Birds
Rian and I recently finished watching the epic television mini-series, The Thorn Birds.
The 1983 mini-series is based on the best-selling novel of the same name. It focuses on three generations of an Australian family from 1920-1962. A forbidden romance between a beautiful young woman and a Catholic priest is the heart of the plot.
This television series was a huge deal when it hit the small screen 28 years ago. When the book was released in 1977, it was a worldwide sensation. Everyone was talking about this phenomenal love story.
Every young actress in Hollywood, from Michelle Pfeiffer to Jane Seymour, wanted to play the main character, Meggie Cleary. The role eventually went to Rachel Ward.
Even Audrey Hepburn almost received a role in the movie, but that part eventually went to legendary movie star Barbara Stanwyck.
In my opinion, The Thorn Birds is one of the best mini-series in American television history. It is not simply a movie, it is an experience.
The acting, especially channeled through Richard Chamberlain, is incredibly powerful. The message is inspiring.
I'll be honest, the first half of the series is a tad slow, because it is mostly character development. The second half picks up pace immediately.
Growing up, I had always heard that The Thorn Birds novel was a must-read. Now that I have seen the mini-series, I simply have to pick up the novel at my local bookstore.
After all, I'm a sucker for romance.
While watching this mini-series, I became drawn to the main actress, Rachel Ward. She is incredibly beautiful and flawlessly played the role of Meggie.
Rachel's biography fascinates me.
She was born into British aristocracy in 1957. As a teenager living in London, she modeled and dated David Kennedy, the nephew of President John F. Kennedy.
After modeling, Rachel ventured into acting.
Although her first major acting role in The Thorn Birds secured a fairly successful career for Rachel, she acknowledges that she was disappointed with her treatment in Hollywood.
Rachel was a beautiful girl who was treated as a beautiful girl, rather than an actress. Directors always encouraged her to show more cleavage, rather than show more talent. So, as a young woman, acting was a bittersweet journey.
While on set of The Thorn Birds, Rachel met her soulmate, the Australian actor Bryan Brown. They quickly married the same year the mini-series was released on television.
Rachel moved out to Australia with her new husband and made it her home.
While Rachel still acts occasionally, she also participates in the behind-the-scene aspects of filmmaking.
In 2005, she was was made a Member of the Order of Australia "for service to raising awareness of social justice through lobbying, mentoring and advocacy for the rights of disadvantaged and at-risk young people, and support for the Australian film and television industry."
She also is a director and screenwriter.
On a personal note, Rachel and her husband, Bryan, are still happily married after 28 years. They have three children.
I have never seen Rachel in any other film before. Have you?
If you find this mini-series at your local library or stumble upon it while browsing Netflix, I highly recommend you check it out.
It may make your heart race.