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1776 (1972)
Topic Started: May 31 2017, 07:14 PM (177 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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1776 (1972) Dir. Peter H. Hunt
Produced by Jack L. Warner for Columbia Pictures(!)
166 min. / Color / 2.35:1
On Blu-ray and DVD from Sony

The Second Continental Congress can't make up their minds whether to have the porter open up the windows or not (it's hot outside, but the flies are terrible, you see) let alone decide on whether or not to declare independence from Britain. While his fellows dither, John Adams works himself up into a frenzy and with the help of Ben Franklin, Tom Jefferson and a few others works to sway his brethren. Meanwhile, they all miss their wives who appear in dreams (and occasionally in the flesh) to sing songs, dance, and keep their men's, er, morale up. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania hates the thought of declaring independence from the Crown nearly as much as he hates John Adams, and therein lies our tussle.

A hit Broadway show turned into a legendary flop of a film starring a cast of (movie) unknowns led by the guy who played Captain Nice on the teevee and a grand total of zero hit songs.

Hey, I loved it.

I'm funny that way. I'm a patriotic guy, you know.

Truth is, as you watch this thing you're going to wonder how in the hell these guys are ever going to agree on a Declaration of Independence. The drama is so engrossing that whenever a song breaks out (which, frankly, isn't as often as you'd think) it's no big distress when the music's over so they can get back to the best part of the film. A wonderful cast including William Daniels (Adams), Howard Da Silva (Franklin), Ken Howard (Jefferson), Donald Madden (Dickinson) and Blythe Danner (Mrs. Jefferson), lotsa well-placed laughs (courtesy mainly of Ben Franklin, as well as Ron Holgate as Richard Henry Lee of Virginia - oh, and ever more discouraging dispatches from the gloomy General Washington).

Million-dollar Dialog:
Mr. Adams: "I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace, that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress!"

Dr. Franklin: "Be careful, Mr. Dickinson. Those who would give up some of their liberty in order to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Hollywood history tells us that President Nixon - who'd seen the play - asked his friend Mr. Warner to omit two songs, the one about Conservative Men and an anti-war song sung by a young soldier. Warner agreed to cut the former but not the latter; in fact, more than 20 min. was cut before widespread release, to what was generally considered the film's detriment. The version on the stellar Sony BD is 166 min. (Director's Cut) and about four minutes longer (complete, original cut) with the theatrical cut nowhere to be found.

We watched the longest version possible and enjoyed every second of it. The disc comes with several original screen tests, the deleted scenes in case you want to watch them separately from the Director's Cut, and commentary by three of the male leads and the director.

Highest recommendation. A great film that'll make you proud to be an American and shocked at how people who dislike, mistrust, and don't agree with each other can put all that aside for the good of the country.

Edited by Laughing Gravy, May 31 2017, 07:43 PM.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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Tal Chotali
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I never saw this film until it was released on disc and Gravy hit all the high spots! True, there are no hit songs but I liked the opening song "Sit Down, John!" and it set the tone for the movie. Well, let me see if I can go open up some windows.............
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