Filename.............: The Winds of War VII - Into the Maelstrom.avi
The Winds of War was best-selling novellist Herman Wouk's second book about World War II, the first being The Caine Mutiny (1951). Published in 1971, it was followed up seven years later by War and Remembrance. Originally conceived as one volume, Wouk decided to break it in two when he realized it took nearly 1000 pages just to get to the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1983, it became a hugely successful mini-series on the ABC television network.
The story revolves around a mixture of real and fictional characters, all connected in some way to the extended family of Victor "Pug" Henry, a middle-aged Naval Officer and confidant of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The story begins six months before Germany's invasion of Poland, which launched the European portion of the war, and ends shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when the United States and, by extension, the Henry family, enters the war as well.
Author Herman Wouk was very negative and skeptical about a motion picture adaptation of his beloved and scrupulously researched novel, since he was most displeased with several earlier adaptations of his novels. But in 1983, Winds of War eventually became a successful mini-series on the ABC television network directed by Dan Curtis. Herman Wouk himself wrote the teleplay for the series and had considerable influence on the production itself, and gave detailed instructions on what and how many commercials would be allowed. Wouk also has a cameo as the archbishop of Siena. The music with its famous main theme was composed by Bob Cobert, a composer often associated with Curtis. Nazi Concentration camp-survivor Branko Lustig was an associate producer in the miniseries, and also on Schindler's List.
The miniseries follows the book closely and depicts events from March 1939 until the entry of the United States into World War II in December 1941. Just as in the book, in addition to the lives of the Henry and Jastrow-families, much time in the miniseries is devoted to the major global events of this period. Adolf Hitler and the German military staff with the fictitious general von Roon as a major character is a prominent subplot of the miniseries. Winds of War also includes segments of documentary footage narrated by William Woodson to explain major events and important characters.
This miniseries was followed by the sequel War and Remembrance in 1988.
Major historical events covered
* Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
* Case White - German invasion of Poland
* Peace proposals by Sumner Welles
* Fall of France
* Battle of Britain
* Lend Lease
* Operation Barbarossa
* Einsatzgruppen in the east
* Pearl Harbor
* Battle of Moscow
* United States entry into World War II
* Japanese attack on the Philippines
Major cast of characters
Robert Mitchum - Victor Henry ("Pug")
Curtis originally envisioned a man in his late forties, early fifties in this part (which also was the age given for Pug Henry in the novel), but said that he couldn't find anyone with the "suitable authority and World War II-era quality" until they found Mitchum, who was, however, much older (in his seventies).
Ali MacGraw - Natalie Jastrow
Curtis first thought Ali McGraw was too old for the part, but changed his mind after meeting McGraw herself and saw how beautiful she was. Associate producer Barbara Steele described her as having the right independence for Natalie. Unfortunately, public opinion was less than favorable. Critics panned her performance as she was deemed far too old to convincingly portray a woman who was supposed to be in her late twenties. She was not rehired for the sequel, "War and Remembrance" and was replaced by Jane Seymour who was nominated for an emmy for her performance.
Jan-Michael Vincent - Byron Henry ("Briny")
Vincent was considered by Curtis to be a bit troublesome, and partied hard during the production and often came up unprepared, but Curtis said after some rehearsals on the set, he put up a great, natural performance. As with MacGraw, Vincent was also not rehired for the sequel.
John Houseman - Aaron Jastrow
Houseman became ill when Curtis went into production with the sequel War and Remembrance, and died shortly before its broadcast began, so he was unable to reprise his role. He was replaced by John Gielgud.
Polly Bergen - Rhoda Henry
Lisa Eilbacher - Madeline Henry
David Dukes - Leslie Slote
Topol - plays the 60-ish character of Berel Jastrow in the series, but was in his 40s during the production.
Ben Murphy - Warren Henry
Peter Graves - Palmer Kirby ("Fred")
Jeremy Kemp - Brig. Gen. Armin von Roon
Ralph Bellamy - President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Bellamy had previously played Roosevelt in Sunrise at Campobello.
Victoria Tennant - Pamela Tudsbury
This was one of the producers toughest casting choices, until they finally found Tennant. Curtis said after he saw her physical suitability for the role "God, let her be able to act!"