6.2/10
845
19 user 7 critic

The Howards of Virginia (1940)

Approved | | Drama, History, War | 19 September 1940 (USA)
Beautiful young Virginian Jane steps down from her proper aristocratic upbrining when she marries down-to-earth surveyor Matt Howard. Matt joins the Colonial forces in their fight for ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(screen play), (novel)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Jane Peyton-Howard
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Fleetwood Peyton (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
...
Roger Peyton
...
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Captain Jabez Allen
...
Tom Norton
...
Aunt Clarissa (as Elizabeth Risdon)
...
Mrs. Norton
...
James Howard at 16 (as Richard Alden)
Phil Taylor ...
Peyton Howard at 18
...
Mary Howard at 17
Libby Taylor ...
Dicey
...
...
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Storyline

Beautiful young Virginian Jane steps down from her proper aristocratic upbrining when she marries down-to-earth surveyor Matt Howard. Matt joins the Colonial forces in their fight for freedom against England. Matt will meet Jane's father in the battlefield. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Vivid Drama Of A Nation's Birth !

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 September 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pasión de libertad  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Fontaine was slated to be loaned by David O. Selznick to Columbia for the lead, but abdominal surgery sidelined her, and she was replaced by Martha Scott. See more »

Goofs

There are several inconsistencies in the chronology of Matt Howard's life and the progression of the American Revolutionary milestones presented in the film. Matt's father is killed in the early years of the French and Indian War, which would place his death no earlier than 1754 (in fact, more likely no earlier than 1756). The film then shows a title card indicating that twelve years had passed, thus placing the timeline of the film in the mid- or late-1760s. Matt, however, learns of the recent passage of the Stamp Act and England's taxation measures toward the colonies. The Stamp Act was instituted in 1756, making it impossible for Matt's father to have died in the French and Indian War and for twelve years to have passed. As an adult, Matt then meets, courts, and marries Jane Peyton (presumably in 1766 or 1768 according to the date of his father's death) and moves to Western Virginia to homestead and father three children. Matt learns of the Boston Tea Party (December 1773) and the Intolerable Acts of 1774 near the time that his family visits the Peyton home in Virginia. At this time, Matt's three children are an unspecified age, but Peyton (the oldest) appears no more than four or five years of age, and James (the youngest) is just a baby. The male children, however, join their father in the Colonial Army. It is strongly inferred that the young men join Matt during the lean Winter of 1777-1778 and it is clear that they are seasoned soldiers by the Battle of Yorktown (1781). The film depicts the sons as teenagers, slightly under the age of eighteen when they join their father and presumably older than eighteen by the Battle of Yorktown. However, using news of the Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, and Intolerable Acts as points of reference, the oldest boy would have been no older than eleven and the youngest no older than nine by the date of the Battle of Yorktown (presumably they would have been even younger unless Jane conceived each child almost immediately after giving birth.) In short, throughout much of the movie, the Howards' family history does not match the chronology of the political and military events depicted in the film. See more »

Soundtracks

Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes
(1616) (uncredited)
Music by R. Melish (1780 ?)
Played in the score at the wedding
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User Reviews

 
Very good, overall
4 July 2010 | by (Chancellorsville VA) – See all my reviews

I was a bit surprised to see so many other reviewers panning this film, since I had seen it once before and thought it was quite good. I watched it again, and I still believe it's a far better-than-average costume drama.

Several people thought Cary Grant was miscast, and even criticized his British accent. Well, what accent do you think a British citizen from the 1760s WOULD have? His character was a "low-born" British colonist, for crying out loud! I thought he did well, definitely playing against type, and I thought his actual British origins, hardly high-born, made him an excellent choice for the part. His character's progression over time, in this film, was believable and, I thought, well done. I suspect it parallels, in some ways, Grant's life changes from humble British kid to acclaimed Hollywood star.

The film itself, with its use of the colonial Williamsburg settings and attention to detail about frontier life, was refreshing, as of course was the excellent casting overall. I also thought the very realistic historical treatment was commendable, laying out clearly many of the controversies and issues facing the colonies during these times. I'd recommend it for kids, especially, since what they get for American history class about this period of time is truly awful -- what little there is.

I'd give it a solid 8, easily.


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