Falcon Crest
Falcon Crest
| 04 December 1981 (USA)

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  • Reviews

    Sorry, this movie sucks

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    It's entirely possible that sending the audience out feeling lousy was intentional

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    This is one of the few movies I've ever seen where the whole audience broke into spontaneous, loud applause a third of the way in.

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    Actress is magnificent and exudes a hypnotic screen presence in this affecting drama.

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    Executive producers Michael Filerman and creator Earl Hamner made the wise decision to make Robert McCullough the supervising producer and de facto show-runner by the end of the first season, and the result was three years of FALCON CREST which were near-brilliant -- a gently Gothic, slightly tongue-in-cheek entry in the DALLAS/DYNASTY era wealth-based nighttime soap genre which became so huge during the early-1980s.Unfortunately, studio politics at Lorimar Productions resulted in a lunch-drinking executive demanding that McCullough be fired, even though the series was at its ratings peak, and FALCON CREST was never, ever the same again. Ever.Once McCullough was gone, the show managed to maintain some momentum for a few months through most of its fourth season, but a CBS executive then demanded that the "offensive" nazi treasure plot line be dropped immediately, just ten episodes before the end of the season -- despite the fact that it was the year's main storyline. As a result, the remainder of the fourth seasons sees a bunch of side plots cobbled together and shoe-horned in just so they can finish off the year. But to me, the inertia of the program had been destroyed once and for all (even though its cushy post-DALLAS time slot kept it alive for several more years).Season 5 was drab and cluttered. Season 6 seemed like it might be a renaissance for the show, but it turned too much towards excessive shlock by the end of that year and then Season 7 just became frenetically silly. The decision to turn the production design light and airy and '80s pastel, combined with Lorimar's new cheapy post-production process making the show look as if it had been shot on video, didn't help much either. A big ratings drop during Season 7 saw CBS demanding the show be fixed, but once they tried to get serious again for Season 8, they no longer seemed to know how to do it. And by Season 9, it just seemed like a different series entirely and ratings continued to spiral into the cellar.Why do swollen executives think a show can make itself as long as you have a key star and a recognizable brand name title? Because it can't.Shame, because the first three season, maybe even 3 1/2 seasons, were fabulous.

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    Jason Daniel Baker

    Initially dismissed as "Dallas with grapes" Falcon Crest was created by Earl Hamner Jr. who also created such TV series as The Waltons and Apple's Way. His more wholesome take on a night-time soap was similar to that which you might think - one that romanticizes family values (While providing an examination of complicated family interpersonal relations) and work ethic. The Northern Italian roots of his maternal grandfather was an influence upon his crafting of the backstory of Falcon Crest.But the main inspiration for Falcon Crest was Hamner's own experience owning an unsuccessful vineyard in the Napa Valley in California in the 1970s, an unprofitable investment which nevertheless inspired him via his experiences. His own time as a struggling writer is doubtless an inspiration for Maggie Gioberti - hapless freelancer.Beginning as a more family friendly night-time soap airing right after Dallas on CBS Angela Channing was set to be portrayed by Barbara Stanwyck reflecting her matriarchal role on The Big Valley TV series in the 1960s. Barbara Stanwyck passed on the role which was then taken on by Jane Wyman.The original unaired pilot for the series starred Clu Gulager as Chase and Samantha Eggar as Maggie. The roles were recast and Robert Foxworth who had been approached with playing the role of J.R. on Dallas was brought in to play Chase, a very different character on what would be a different kind of prime time serial.The series inevitably declined in its later years long after it had said what it had to say. Hastening the decline was the departure of series stars and recycling of plot-lines.

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    Falcon Crest was such a great show! It stood apart from serious-Dallas and campy-Dynasty and rivoted viewers for 9 seasons. Headed by Jane Wyman, the cast and crew rose to the challenge of taking their place beside the classic dramas of Dallas, Dynasty and Knots Landing. With gorgeous on location photography and crisp screenplays....the show was able to capture its own following. Currently airing on SoapNet, this vintage drama has finally been uncorked!

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    I am surprised, that this is the first comment ever made on this highly quality-regarded 80's series. I grew up pretty much on Dallas & Dynasty Clan, & without a doubt those are the 2 best TV dramas on my list. The question remains though: Who comes up 3rd? For me without a doubt, it's Falcon Crest. The all-time family affair with all the dirt, intrigues, plays & surprises. I love Falcon Crest. Unfortunately, here in NY you can not find any re-runs on any cable channels. I hope one of them will pick it up soon. If you haven't seen any of them yet, try to visit the TV & Movie library in NYC. They have every episode archived.

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