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Danielle Steel’s the Ring

Danielle Steel's The Ring (Sun. (20), Mon. (21), 9-11 p.m., NBC) Filmed in Prague, Czech Republic, and New York by Stillking Prods. Exec producer, Douglas S. Cramer; producer, Kay Hoffman; director, Armand Mastroianni; writers, Nancy Sackett and Carmen Culver, from Danielle Steel's novel; supervising producer, Dennis Hammer; line producer, Gerald T. Olson; director of photography, Gideon Porath; editor, Scott Vickrey; music, Michel Legrand; production supervisor, Matthew Stillman; costumes, Barbara Lane; art director, Jan Zeman; set decorators, Hari Pischinger, Vlasta Svoboda; sound, Jay Patterson; casting, Judith Weiner, Jeremy Zimmerman. Cast: Nastassja Kinski, Michael York, Jon Tenney, Tim DeKay, James B. Sikking, Leslie Caron, Jean Marsh, Rupert Penry-Jones, Carsten Norgaard, Leigh Lawson, Julie Cox, Jack Hedley, Linda Lavin. After 20 longform projects for NBC (five miniseries, 15 telefilms) in six years, Danielle Steel is gathering up her breathless bestselling novels and her overheated, undershrewd chick-movie formula and leaving the Peacock, taking the network's most reliable baseball counterprogramming franchise with her. It started on Oct. 15, 1990, with "Danielle Steel's Kaleidoscope" and ends this Sunday and Monday with this numbingly lame two-parter. Not that the ratings figure to be paltry for "The Ring." Steel's time-tested, cerebrally challenged style always seems to pack 'em in. But this ghastly trash wallow will doubtless inspire many to bolt from the living room in terror, clamoring desperately for higher-quality fare like "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians." Many won't even make it past the first five minutes, which hops through three different years, one murder, one spilled can of paint made to look like a blood pool and an Adolf Hitler who bears an uncomfortably uncanny resemblance to Stan Laurel. Suddenly, it's Hitler: The Comedy Years. Adapted from the Steel novel of the same name, mini stars Nastassja Kinski (still living off of her notices in 1979's "Tess") in her TV movie debut as Ariana von Gotthard, a young (well, OK, maybe not that young) German woman whose tragic love life unfolds during and after World War II. She starts out by marrying a Nazi officer with a heart of gold (Carsten Norgaard). They swap saliva under the swastikas. Life is full. Kinski, through a series of passionate embraces and horrid tragedies, conveys an air of quiet desperation as she makes her way through lovers (including Jon Tenney), identities (gentile, Jew), residences (Europe, America) and mind-sets (manic, depressive). The momentous music (from Grammy winner Michel Legrand) blends with the location scenery (Prague, New York City) and convoluted, bathetic teleplay (from Nancy Sackett and Carmen Culver) to create a tone of utter camp. World War II has never seemed quite so inconsequential and vapid. Michael York is given second billing here, and he barely makes it through the first hour. Wearing enough makeup to spur a cosmetics industry shortage, he stiffly plays a brave but foolish father who gets ruthlessly gunned down as a traitor. But even with a bullet in him, the eyeliner looks terrific. Leslie Caron and James B. Sikking also show up in part two, but by then it's far too late. Project is supposed to be tied together by a signet ring given to Ariana by her father after her mother's suicide. It keeps her company while she searches for her long-lost brother. But it is the audience that is truly lost. Thanks for the memories, Danielle. Ray Richmond

Danielle Steel’s The Ring (Sun. (20), Mon. (21), 9-11 p.m., NBC) Filmed in Prague, Czech Republic, and New York by Stillking Prods. Exec producer, Douglas S. Cramer; producer, Kay Hoffman; director, Armand Mastroianni; writers, Nancy Sackett and Carmen Culver, from Danielle Steel’s novel; supervising producer, Dennis Hammer; line producer, Gerald T. Olson; director of photography, Gideon Porath; editor, Scott Vickrey; music, Michel Legrand; production supervisor, Matthew Stillman; costumes, Barbara Lane; art director, Jan Zeman; set decorators, Hari Pischinger, Vlasta Svoboda; sound, Jay Patterson; casting, Judith Weiner, Jeremy Zimmerman. Cast: Nastassja Kinski, Michael York, Jon Tenney, Tim DeKay, James B. Sikking, Leslie Caron, Jean Marsh, Rupert Penry-Jones, Carsten Norgaard, Leigh Lawson, Julie Cox, Jack Hedley, Linda Lavin. After 20 longform projects for NBC (five miniseries, 15 telefilms) in six years, Danielle Steel is gathering up her breathless bestselling novels and her overheated, undershrewd chick-movie formula and leaving the Peacock, taking the network’s most reliable baseball counterprogramming franchise with her. It started on Oct. 15, 1990, with “Danielle Steel’s Kaleidoscope” and ends this Sunday and Monday with this numbingly lame two-parter. Not that the ratings figure to be paltry for “The Ring.” Steel’s time-tested, cerebrally challenged style always seems to pack ’em in. But this ghastly trash wallow will doubtless inspire many to bolt from the living room in terror, clamoring desperately for higher-quality fare like “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” Many won’t even make it past the first five minutes, which hops through three different years, one murder, one spilled can of paint made to look like a blood pool and an Adolf Hitler who bears an uncomfortably uncanny resemblance to Stan Laurel. Suddenly, it’s Hitler: The Comedy Years. Adapted from the Steel novel of the same name, mini stars Nastassja Kinski (still living off of her notices in 1979’s “Tess”) in her TV movie debut as Ariana von Gotthard, a young (well, OK, maybe not that young) German woman whose tragic love life unfolds during and after World War II. She starts out by marrying a Nazi officer with a heart of gold (Carsten Norgaard). They swap saliva under the swastikas. Life is full. Kinski, through a series of passionate embraces and horrid tragedies, conveys an air of quiet desperation as she makes her way through lovers (including Jon Tenney), identities (gentile, Jew), residences (Europe, America) and mind-sets (manic, depressive). The momentous music (from Grammy winner Michel Legrand) blends with the location scenery (Prague, New York City) and convoluted, bathetic teleplay (from Nancy Sackett and Carmen Culver) to create a tone of utter camp. World War II has never seemed quite so inconsequential and vapid. Michael York is given second billing here, and he barely makes it through the first hour. Wearing enough makeup to spur a cosmetics industry shortage, he stiffly plays a brave but foolish father who gets ruthlessly gunned down as a traitor. But even with a bullet in him, the eyeliner looks terrific. Leslie Caron and James B. Sikking also show up in part two, but by then it’s far too late. Project is supposed to be tied together by a signet ring given to Ariana by her father after her mother’s suicide. It keeps her company while she searches for her long-lost brother. But it is the audience that is truly lost. Thanks for the memories, Danielle. Ray Richmond

Danielle Steel's the Ring

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