title: THE BETSY
year: 1978
cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Lawrence Olivier, Kathleen Beller, Robert Duvall
rating: **1/2

Like something off TV from the late seventies/early eighties night soaps ala "Dallas" or "Dynasty" but centering on a car company and with curse words and full-frontal nudity (the Kathleen Beller pool scene is quite a nice surprise). Tommy Lee Jones is a race car driver/designer hired by a rich family to make a new affordable fuel efficiant car (named after Beller, his great-granddaughter, hence "The Betsy") and gets tangled in the web that always permeates the rich and powerful in literature and films. This is just fluff, but sometimes entertaining fluff. Robert Duvall is surprisingly dull as the somewhat villainous grandson of Lawrence Olivier, Olivier who plays wholeheartedly a Henry Ford meets Darth Vadar type matriarch of a powerful family that's falling apart at the seams. When Duvall's character says (pp) "The U.S. Senate cannot dictate the American People's tastes in cars", I got a chill in my bones... Harold Robbins must have some Nostrodomus in him (hint... GM).

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