Picks and Pans Review: Mistral's Daughter
CBS (Monday, Sept. 24, 8 p.m. ET)
In TV's rendition of Judith Krantz' hot, humid novel, Stefanie Powers stars as Maggy Lunel, a 1925 Parisian model who's seduced and painted by Stacy Keach as artist Julien Mistral. Theirs is a love scene to remember; file it under F for Funny. "You have very beautiful feet," Stacy sighs as he licks Stefanie's toes. She moans in ecstasy unheard of on the airwaves and in a French accent you hope never to hear again: "No, no, no, chéri!" Stacy carries her up to his studio and captures her unclothed afterglow in oils (squirting them onto his pallette in an all-too-Freudian way). "When I paint you," he gushes, "light seems to pour from your body and it's as though the canvas itself becomes the source of light. It's unbelievable. I really don't want to talk about it." Stacy should have thought of that before he uttered those crimson lines. Then he shows her the painting. "Boo-tee-fool," Stefanie simpers. Beautiful? There's better art hanging in turnpike motel rooms. But Mistral is sexy and entertaining, filled with enough plot to keep Dallasbusy for a decade: Lee Remick steals Stacy from Stefanie and makes him famous; Stefanie falls in love with rich, married American Timothy Dalton and has a child, Stephanie Dunnam, who years later goes to France, falls in love with Stacy and has his child. The possibilities for polluting the gene pool are staggering. There are scores more plot lines, a spectacular tangle of them, and enough to pull you through the mini's many rough spots. Stefanie too often does not look the part she's playing; she appears neither 18 at the beginning nor 65 at the end but always her age, 41. She's pleasant enough but not always plausible. Lee Remick, at 48, looks younger, sleeker and even sexier—she is the class act in the cast. Keach at times seems to think that he's playing an alien lizard in V, so intense are his eyes and movements—but that's just fine, for he has a blast playing Mistral and he shows it. Mistral's Daughters no work of art; it's more of a glossy cartoon for adults, but one worth a peek. (Part Two airs Tuesday, Part Three Wednesday)
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