The Betsy

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The Betsy
The Betsy poster.jpeg
Original theatrical poster of The Betsy
Directed by Daniel Petrie
Produced by Robert R. Weston
Written by
Starring
Distributed by Allied Artists
United Artists
Release dates
  • February 9, 1978 (1978-02-09)
Running time 125 m
Language English

The Betsy is a 1978 film made by the Harold Robbins International Company and released by Allied Artists and United Artists.[1] It was directed by Daniel Petrie and produced by Robert R. Weston and Emanuel L. Wolf with Jack Grossberg as associate producer. The screenplay was by William Bast and Walter Bernstein, adapted from the novel of the same title by Harold Robbins.[2]

The film stars Laurence Olivier, Robert Duvall, Katharine Ross, Tommy Lee Jones, Jane Alexander, Joseph Wiseman, Kathleen Beller, Edward Herrmann, Paul Ryan Rudd, and Lesley-Anne Down.

The novelist considered The Betsy as the "best movie adaptation of any of his works."[3]

Plot[edit]

A fading family-owned automobile manufacturer and its owners pin their hopes for a return to profitability on a new model named for the great-granddaughter of the firm's founder.

The aging Loren Hardeman Sr. remains the titular head of a Detroit automotive conglomerate. (An obvious parallel exists between this fictional character and that of Henry Ford.) His grandson, Loren Hardeman III, now runs the company as president, but has diversified into other fields and is concerned that the auto division is not as lucrative as it once was and might even need to be eliminated.

A young auto racer, Angelo Perino, has been secretly commissioned to develop a ground-breaking fuel-efficient car. He juggles romantic relationships with a British royal, Lady Bobby Ayres, and the young Betsy, who is about to turn 21 and inherit a fortune, including the new car her great-grandfather is naming in her honor.

Loren Hardeman III bitterly despises Hardeman Sr., who once carried on an affair with Loren's mother. The older Hardeman is not the man he used to be, but neither is he ready to step aside forever.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Assembly-plant footage was filmed at the American Motors (AMC) Kenosha, Wisconsin factory. It shows 1978 Gremlin, Pacer, and Concord models being built and painted on AMC's assembly line serving as the factory of the fictitious Bethlehem Motors.[4] For authenticity, the movie producers had queried AMC on how a new car is developed.[5]

The titular car is a slightly modified 1974 Lancia Beta coupe.[6] The Betsy features music composed by John Barry.[7] It was filmed at Rosecliff mansion in Newport Rhode Island.

Review by an automobile industry expert noted that filmmakers have not shown believable characters and realistic dialogue.[8] Attempts by Hollywood to capture the auto industry on film, such as The Betsy, have "aimed at realistic drama but wound up with suds."[8]

The film was the last of the Harold Robbins films to go to screen based on his best selling books, followed by special effects films and primetime soap operas in the 1980s.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ PA0000241949 / 1984-12-13 (United States Copyright Office)
  2. ^ Robbins, Harold (2011). The Betsy (eBook ed.). AuthorHouse. ISBN 9781463413750. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "William Bast recalls the making of The Betsy". American Legends. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Cranswick, Marc (2011). The Cars of American Motors: An Illustrated History. McFarland. p. 247. ISBN 978-0-7864-4672-8. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "'The Betsy'". Ward's Auto World 13: 37. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "1974 Lancia Beta Coupe". Internet Movie Cars Database. 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Betsy (1978)". movies.com. 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Taylor III, Alex (20 September 2011). "The Big Three on the Big Screen". Fortune. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 

External links[edit]