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QB VII

By Robert J. McNamara

This five-hour miniseries, which was hailed as both a critical triumph and a milestone "television event" when it originally aired in 1974 on ABC, is based on the Leon Uris novel, which itself was based on a libel trial that arose after Uris published his novel Exodus.

The fictionalized drama is essentially the story of two men, Dr. Adam Kelno, a Polish doctor who was imprisoned by the Nazis in a concentration camp, and Abe Cady, a successful Hollywood writer who publishes a serious book on the Holocaust that exposes Kelno's past. Playing Dr. Kelno, Anthony Hopkins steals the show, and the nuances he brings to the character keep the audience guessing whether he is in fact a dedicated healer or a diabolical villain intent on papering over a fiendish past. Ben Gazzara is credible as the tough-talking Cady, but when Hopkins leaves the action for a time the film sags and begins to resemble an ordinary TV movie.

Eventually the two men's lives come into conflict when Kelno sues for libel. The trial, which takes place in a London courtroom (the "Queen's Bench VII" of the title), seeks to sort out the truth about the past of Dr. Kelno. His precise activities during the war, and how the world deals with his past, receive intelligent and dramatic treatment.

 

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TV TIDBITS

Aired: April 29-30, 1974

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Ben Gazzara, Lee Remick, and John Gielgud

Network: ABC

Genre: Mini-series (Historical Drama)

Theme song

Image courtesy of ABC


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