THE BETSY, directed by Daniel Petrie and based on Harold Robbins's sordid potboiler about several generations of an American car manufacturing dynasty, stars Laurence Olivier as 90-year-old Loren Hardeman, who rules the family with an iron fist. The clan, nonetheless, is constantly involved in intrigues and affairs ranging from adultery to abuse of power. Although Loren has passed along the family business to his grandson, Loren Hardeman III (Robert Duvall), he has one idea that he is desperate to realize. The Betsy is Loren's dream car, named after his doting great-granddaughter (Kathleen Beller), and he hires Angelo Perino (a young and seductive Tommy Lee Jones) to help him secretly create the economical, efficient vehicle. Angelo is an injured race car driver who diligently works to design the car while seducing Betsy and having an affair with Loren III's mistress (a terrifically haughty Lesley-Anne Down). But the money-grubbing auto industry isn't too fond of Loren's secret pursuit, and their desire to sabotage him soon sets off more melodramatic action than a family can handle. This soap opera, brimming over with intrigue and seduction has been compared to television's DYNASTY and other spicy tales of romance and big money power plays. Petrie's film is certainly ripe with scandal, melodrama, and an enjoyably campy all-star cast, including Katharine Ross, Jane Alexander, and Paul Rudd. THE BETSY also features music composed by the legendary John Barry.
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