HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
Stump the Guesser
Sator
Last Warning, The
PVT CHAT
Ascent, The
Clementine
Hurt by Paradise
Saint Maud
Johnny Frenchman
Glitch in the Matrix, A
Beginning
Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris
   
 
Newest Articles
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
   
 
  1776 Oh Say Can You See?
Year: 1972
Director: Peter H. Hunt
Stars: William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Ken Howard, Donald Madden, John Cullum, Roy Poole, David Ford, Ron Holgate, David Middleton, William Hansen, Blythe Danner, Virginia Vestoff, Emory Bass, Ralston Hill, Howard Caine, Patrick Hines, William Duell
Genre: Musical, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is June 1776, and in Philadelphia Congress is meeting to discuss the now-fragile state of affairs between the American colonies and Great Britain, since there are strong moves by many Americans to declare independence from King George. But the matter is in the hands of John Adams (William Daniels), who is avowedly pro-independence, and he feels it is up to him to convince his fellow politicians to draw up a declaration to that purpose, so has been haranguing all and sundry to bring them around to his way of thinking. He may be missing his wife (Virginia Vestoff), and the temperature may be rising sky high, and he may be unpopular, but that will not stop him...

Given how many musicals there are about a wide variety of different subjects, it was surely only a matter of time before someone got around to making one about the United States' Declaration of Independence, and in 1969 this became a hot ticket on Broadway, occasionally revived ever since, but only in America, the rest of the world not being too bothered about their history, or not about hearing it sung about. Little wonder it didn't make much impression abroad: the songs did not feature one tune that truly stood out, the lyrics made the actual figures of fact sound facile or even absurd, and if you saw the film at its full length, it was a very long near-three hour experience.

Indeed, if you had no investment in America at all, emotionally speaking, never mind with patriotic pride, this marathon was a real chore to endure, seeming too silly for a portrayal of the events - you can imagine a historical musical with comedy for kids would be a great idea, but there was swearing and mention of sexually transmitted diseases to make for awkward questions for parents and guardians. Besides, the ins and outs of eighteenth century politics utterly failed to spring to life when director Peter H. Hunt opted to more or less film the Sherman Edwards play as it was, largely on one set (the Congress), with daft interludes involving the love life of Adams and Thomas Jefferson, including sex talk.

Maybe it was a hangover from the day when musicals were more about the subjects than the melodies when it came to attracting an audience, where one killer song would do to get the audience humming it on the way out of the auditorium, but something of that nature was missing here. And the politics were not well-conveyed, either, as the pro-British Southerners came across as more reasonable than the petulant, capricious Northerners who wanted the independence, Donald Madden as John Dickinson offering the best performance to the extent of making you side with what turns out to be pro-slavery exponents. Let's put that another way, you will be sympathising with Dickinson (in real life an anti-war campaigning Quaker) right up to the point he voices his support of slavery.

But that was the elephant in the room (as opposed to the donkey, one supposes): the men deciding the future of their nation had built it on some very unpleasant grounds, so for all their belief they had God on their side, they were a collection of tax-hating, rich white men who had made a fortune through slavery of Africans and near-genocide of the indigenous people. Obviously only a maniac was going to point this out in a patriotic musical, but even the song that addressed the slavery issue is one accusing the North of hypocrisy for having profited from slaves themselves, which is not as progressive as it thinks it is when it is performed by an anti-emancipation character. What are we supposed to do, say good point and think it was OK? But in the main this was a dull trot through a loose approximation of the facts, with nobody for the audience to latch onto as a hero for the Congressmen are to a man, smug, self-satisfied and self-interested. On the other hand, if you want easy nationalism, then this will fit the bill, depending on your staying power.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 601 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: