aec.imt1077159dvd 1/24/12 New
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This epic story about a Louisiana plantation owner trying to hold on to her estate before, during, and after the American Civil War, a place ironically called "Bagatelle," rides on the illustrious fame of Tara and its more famous mistress in another Southern state. Virginia Tregan (Margot Kidder) comes back to Louisiana after finishing her schooling in France and is soon left without financial support when her father dies. Motivated by dire economic straits, she marries the owner of Bagatelle, but her real love turns out to be the steward (Ian Charleson). Husbands come and go while the steward remains in the background, and clichéd characters abound: a chamber-maid whose husband is tragically murdered for supporting the Abolitionists, an evil aristocrat who rapes and kills Tregan's daughter, and the matriarch herself. The original six hours of TV miniseries time was cut to a three-hour cinema format, but the downsizing in this Danielle Steele-type story also extends to the acting, cinematography, dialogue, and dramatic interest -- making it a bagatelle rather than a real gem. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

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