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W.S. Van Dyke
George Washington tries to encourage gifted orator Patrick Henry to use his considerable powers to argue the case for colonial independence before the Virginia House of Burgesses, but the lawmaker's promise to his wife initially deters him. When the political climate changes, she eventually gives her consent, and Henry delivers his rousing "Give Me Liberty" speech to an enthusiastic legislature. Written by
Gabe Taverney (email@example.com)
The guests at General Washington's house are shown dancing to Beethoven's "Minuet in G," which was not composed until 1796. In fact, Beethoven was only born in 1770, i.e. five years after the events shown at the beginning of the film. See more »
John Henry's passionate `GIVE ME LIBERTY' speech in 1775 rouses the Virginia legislators into joining the American Revolution.
This fine little film focuses in on Patrick Henry (1736-1799) and what finally led him to declare his beliefs regarding political separation from Great Britain. Actor John Litel does a magnificent job in performing the great speech which was delivered by Henry at St. John's Church in Richmond.
The film errs in putting too much of a romantic twist into the plot, with Henry missing his wife so much that he can't get motivated to make his declaration until he sees her enter the church balcony unexpectedly. The real story is more interesting. Henry's first wife, Sarah Shelton, whom he married in 1754, had gone completely insane. Mental illness was not understood in the 18th Century and was considered somewhat shameful. It is indeed ironic that Patrick Henry, that great champion of human liberty & freedom, kept his mad wife confined in the cellar. It was not until after her death that he wed Dorothea Dandridge.
GIVE ME LIBERTY won the Academy Award for Best Color Short Subject for 1936.
Often overlooked or neglected today, the one and two-reel short subjects were useful to the Studios as important training grounds for new or burgeoning talents, both in front & behind the camera. The dynamics for creating a successful short subject was completely different from that of a feature length film, something akin to writing a topnotch short story rather than a novel. Economical to produce in terms of both budget & schedule and capable of portraying a wide range of material, short subjects were the perfect complement to the Studios' feature films.
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