Friday, August 20, 2010

#14. 1776 (1972)

DVD Synopsis: 1776 is a delightful musical celebration of the framing of the United States of America based on the award-winning Broadway production. The story centers around the familiar historical characters as they organize a movement for independence from Mother England: the tough, unyielding John Adams (William Daniels); the charming and pragmatic Benjamin Franklin (Howard Da Silva); the brilliant young Thomas Jefferson (Ken Howard), who is chosen to write the Declaration of Independence even as he longs for the company of his new bride Martha (Blythe Danner), and the rest of the Continental Congress. All events lead up to that most significant date, July 4, 1776, when the Declaration was signed.

1776 is a rarity; a film adaptation of a Broadway musical that flows much more smoothly when nobody is singing. 

The story itself, the decision by Congress to rebel against Great Britain and the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, is as great a topic as any film can have, and despite the many historical inaccuracies I had fun with it. I enjoyed the relationship that developed between William Daniels’ acerbic John Adams and Howard Da Silva’s humorous Ben Franklin, and there are some truly funny moments that occur when Congress is assembled. 

The musical outbursts are another matter, acting like an anchor that drags the entire production to a screeching halt. Sure, one or two numbers aren’t bad, but you certainly won’t be humming any of these tunes the next day (or an hour later, for that matter). Believe me, you’ll have a much better time watching 1776 if you take full advantage of your DVD player’s chapter forward button and skip the music.


1 comment:

Jill Durocher said...

Regardless of how "factual" this film may be, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters of Ben Franklin and John Adams were very entertaining. The musical numbers could have been left out and I would have liked it even better. Definitely worth seeing!!