Broadcast Run: 1978
Broadcast Medium: Television
In 1978, Radio-Canada aired this seven-hour miniseries, an unprecedented initiative at the time. The Duplessis miniseries was visually halfway between a serious TV drama and a TV soap opera: it had a motion picture-type feel with abundant outdoor scenes and action shots that would become more commonplace six or seven years later, with Lance et compte.
Duplessis required a huge amount of research and production work to ensure its coherence and faithfulness to the historical saga of this former Premier of the Province of Quebec. The cast included more than 200 actors, including Jean Lapointe in the title role, who gave a memorable dramatic performance in his interpretation of Maurice Duplessis.
This miniseries was directed by Mark Blankford and written and scripted by Denys Arcand, with the collaboration of the historian Jacques Lacoursière.
The broadcast of Duplessis gave rise to a genuine province-wide debate at the time. Former Duplessis loyalists were incensed that he had been portrayed as a vicious alcoholic who liked vulgar jokes, while ardent Duplessis opponents were bothered by the fact that the character seemed too good-natured.
Written by Yvon Chouinard – February, 2006