“It is possible for you to live an entire lifetime and not experience everything you see in THE CARPETBAGGERS!” So screamed the previews for this all-star adaptation of the Harold Robbins novel of the same name.
Because it was a Robbins property, the film was strictly adults only stuff (when recently re-evaluated for a video release, the rating was adjusted to a mere PG). I saw the film because it boasts one of my all-time favorite main themes; a hard-charging, pulse-pounding epic jazz orchestral piece that sounds like the AIRPORT theme on steroids.
Also in the film’s favor was a simply amazing cast which included the likes of George Peppard, Bob Cummings, Arthur Franz, Martha Hyer (pictured at right), and on and on. Carroll Baker, who looks just smashing throughout, who plays an analog to Jean Harlow, a figure Baker would fully play in another biopic.
Alan Ladd’s last film, in which he plays the aging cowboy-turned-movie star Nevada Smith, the subject of a prequel starring Steve McQueen. Largely, though loosely, based on the life of Howard Hughes, the film tells the saga of tycoon industrialist Jonas Cord Jr., self-destructive genius who more or less conquers the world in a few short years. Stagey, explicit soap opera stuff, but still a pretty interesting picture. Makes for an interesting comparison piece to THE AVIATOR.