6.1/10
862
19 user 12 critic

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.

Director:

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:
...
...
Jane Peyton-Howard
...
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:

The Tree of Liberty  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cary Grant was so disappointed with the critical and public reception of the film that it impacted his relationship with Columbia Pictures studio head, Harry Cohn. Grant blamed Cohn for talking him into starring in the film in a role for which he felt miscast. 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

 
Could have been better
15 September 2000 | by (california) – See all my reviews

Simpler than it first appears. This movie tries to be an epic about a frontier man transformed into a civic and military leader - but it doesn't try that hard. Cary Grant doesn't look like he knows quite how to play this guy, and I don't blame him. The material isn't wonderful, although it's a nice story. The wrong elements of the plot are emphasized, and the character of Matthew Howard is less a complicated man than a simple cypher.

It's not a bad movie by any means, but it looks like it's trying desperately to copy "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Gone with the Wind" at the same time. It just doesn't have the legs for either one. I give this movie a 6 for Cary's personal magnetism, even in a stifling role like this one.


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