===Story=== If you have an appetite for Sicilian soapers, then you're like all those other people who made ''Mario Puzo's The Last Don'' the highest Nielsen-rated show for the week in mid-May 1997 when it originally aired. And who could blame you, since the story line of this TV miniseries is chock-full of all the familiar elements that make up a bestseller--power, money, sex, murder, gambling, madness, fame, Hollywood, loyalties made and broken. The story proper begins with a little ''Romeo and Juliet'' when Rose Marie, daughter of Don Domenico Clericuzio (Danny Aiello), falls for the youngest son of the warring Santadio family. On their wedding night, Rose Marie's new husband and the entire Santadio family are slaughtered by the Clericuzios to avoid further conflict between the two families, and Rose Marie goes completely insane and grows up to be Kirstie Alley. But not before she gives birth to another Santadio, Dante (so named because he has to live in Hell), in whom she invests all her hatred for her own family. So he grows up to be a psychotic hitman, played with sly and sadistic ingenuity by Rory Cochrane. The Clericuzios' chief executioner, Pippi (played with smooth aplomb by Joe Mantegna), is responsible for killing Rose Marie's husband, and wants his own son, metaphorically overburdened with the name "Cross," to follow in his footsteps. The sins of the fathers are visiting all over the sons in this picture, and naturally the two kids will have to resolve this inheritance. The acting is the main attraction here. Aiello in particular invests The Don with a stately grace that is just right. ''--Jim Gay''
|Penelope Ann Miller|