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Arthur V. Johnson,
THe first half of the film portrays the struggle of the under-armed, under-manned colonists against the British Redcoats at Lexington, Bunker Hill and Valley Forge. Other landmarks of the American Revolution shown include the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's midnight ride and Patrick Henry's (played by Frank McGlyyn Jr. and not played by his father Frank McGlynn Sr) inflammatory speeches to the VIrginia House of Burgesses. The second half dwells on the bloody Indian War of Mohawk Valley. THe parts are tied together by the troubled romance between a young patriot, Nathan Holden (Neal Hamilton (I)')and Nancy Montague (Carol Dempster), the daughter of a Tory Judge. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In many ways, exceptional,...but bogged down by a silly and meaningless romance
I really wanted to like this film and I don't think I was terribly disappointed. Being an American History teacher, I felt an obligation, almost, to see this film and as far as the history went, it wasn't bad. Sure there were a few mistakes here and there (especially with the timeline--the movie only appeared to last a few months or perhaps a year--not over six years of actual fighting), but the overall spirit of the film and the battle sequences were excellent. Unfortunately, the movie ALSO included a pretty meaningless subplot involving a difficult to believe romance between a poor patriot and a rich Loyalist. For the most part, it really served to distract from the overall plot and just seemed "tacked on"--like a plot device instead of a real honest-to-goodness romance. In fact, as much of the romance boiled down to the dumb cliché of "love at fist sight", it was kind of annoying the more I think about it.
However, in spite of this romance, the film is truly interesting and inspiring---plus, in so many ways it seems as if the much later film, THE PATRIOT, was copied from this Griffith film!!! Both films followed the exploits of an evil leader fighting for the British and using horrible and evil tactics against the civilians--and both having the secret intention of using this as a "springboard" to starting their OWN nation in the America!!! The only major difference is that this film is set in the North and THE PATRIOT was in the Carolinas. It sure would have been nice if Mel Gibson and the rest had acknowledged their debt to D. W. Griffith for the story ideas. It just doesn't seem all that likely that the two stories were created independently of each other.
PS--Despite me liking this film and some other of Griffith's films, he DOES deserve to once again "burn in hell" for his having White actors portray all the Black servants in the film! This is a sick and bigoted thing that Griffith did in so many of his films--especially in BIRTH OF A NATION. I gotta assume based on this and the way he portrays Blacks that he was A-OK with slavery and was quite the apologist for this "quaint institution" (don't get mad at me--this IS meant as sarcasm).
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