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The Howards of Virginia (1940)

Approved | | Drama, History, War | 19 September 1940 (USA)
During the American War of Independence, aristocratic Virginian Jane Peyton marries unsophisticated rustic surveyor Matt Howard who takes her to his Shenandoah Valley plantation and later goes to war.

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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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...
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Fleetwood Peyton (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
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...
Thomas Jefferson
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...
...
Aunt Clarissa (as Elizabeth Risdon)
...
...
James Howard at 16 (as Richard Alden)
Phil Taylor ...
Peyton Howard at 18
...
Mary Howard at 17
Libby Taylor ...
...
Patrick Henry
...
George Washington
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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:

The Tree of Liberty  »

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

With World War II raging in Europe, Columbia Pictures foresaw a need for more patriotic projects and initiated this project early in 1940. Studio executives mentioned that they believed that many Americans felt that they would be going to war soon and were desirous of patriotic films. 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

 
Stay with it. It's worth it.
7 April 2010 | by See all my reviews

When I first started to play this, I was afraid I had erred. The acting seemed second-rate and rather silly. But I realized we hadn't seen the main actors, yet. And even when they came on, they hit their stride later in the movie.

The funny thing for me was that the best performances often came from the child actors. Buster Phelps as the young Thomas Jefferson was especially good. The adult Jefferson was good in general, but did not hold a candle to the portrayal in the HBO John Adams series.

Cary Grant is fun to watch. His accent never quite sounds as rough as it should, but his gruff mannerisms make him convincing enough, so long as you're willing to suspend disbelief.

The best element for me was how Cary Grant's character was developed in relation to his family.


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