Johnny Tremain (1957)
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I have read this book in Calvert School back in 7th grade, I believe. It was such a wonderful book; my mom even enjoyed it, too. Our library had a classroom version of this movie on DVD (although a regular version can also be purchased), and we had just checked that movie out and we enjoyed it so.
"Johnny Tremain" is real good Disney, indeed: a great book made into a great movie portraying terrific American history.
I know the 1950's style of Walt Disney seems pretty corny to many folks today. But if old-fashioned values of integrity and honesty and straightforward dealings with other people is corny, then this nation could stand a pretty healthy dose of it, if you ask me.
I love the song, "The Songs of Liberty", and when the men returned from one of their enterprises to hang old-fashioned lanterns up all over on that big old oak tree, and their ladies came out of their homes and shops to join them to sing this song, well, it beat a "Hallmark" or Telephone commercial for me, I can tell you. If my sons are home when I watch this, boy do they raze me good! heheheheh I don't care - it feels good to watch this kind of show.
It would be good for America to remember her roots, and a cute show like this does that in a very entertaining way. You wanted to be there. And maybe you might want to learn a bit more about a few of the names that were dropped, as well. Sometimes a bit of curiosity is good for the soul!
The fictional character of Johnny Tremain who is an apprentice silversmith and his struggle to establish his birthright to the satisfaction of his loyalist uncle Sebastian Cabot is set against the background of Boston in the 1770s. As we well know the seeds of the American Revolution were planted there, it was a hotbed of latent treason to the British crown.
As Johnny Tremain started as a juvenile novel the issues of the American Revolution are quite simply laid out so that even the lay historian can follow the issues and the events of the Boston Tea Party and later the Battles of Lexington and Concord pretty much as they actually occurred.
And the personalities of the Sons Of Liberty come wonderfully alive in this film. Walter Sande as Paul Revere, Walter Coy as Dr. Joseph Warren, Rusty Lane as Samuel Adams step right out from the textbooks. But in the few scenes he has Jeff York as James Otis steals the movie.
There was a touch of genius in the casting of York and who would have suspected it because York normally played rough hewn frontier type characters. It was totally against type that York was cast as the Back Bay Patriot with both genius and madness in his running in his veins. Otis and Johnny Tremain define the real issues of what became the American Revolution in the best acted scene in the film.
Hal Stalmaster was a fine and earnest Johnny Tremain and was 'introduced' in this film. Why his career went nowhere after that is still a mystery. Luana Patten plays the daughter of Will Wright and Virginia Christine the silversmiths that Stalmaster is apprenticed to and Richard Beymer plays Stalmaster's original tutor in radical Sons Of Liberty politics.
If grade school teachers are not using Johnny Tremain as a teaching tool when the kids are learning the American Revolution, shame on them.
Set in Revolutionary era Boston, Forbes' novel is the story of a bright, talented, and cocky fourteen year old silversmith apprentice, Johnny Tremain, who because of an accident which cripples his hand finds himself without a profession. Without a future as a silversmith, Johnny must find a new life and career. Along the way he finds himself swept up in the events around Boston in the mid 1770's that culminated in the American Revolution. Johnny becomes involved in the clandestine activities of the Sons of Liberty. He participates in the Boston Tea Party, spies on the British, and mingles with such patriots as John Hancock, Sam Adams, and Paul Revere. The strength of the novel is how Forbes so effortlessly weaved the fictional story of Johnny in with actual historical events and persons. It is just a brilliant work of historical fiction.
One would think that a film studio could not make a complete hash of such terrific source material. Yet Disney did. Disney did what is usually expected of film versions of novels- it jettisoned "minor" characters and subplots to streamline the story. That's understandable. What is not forgivable is completely changing the message and tone of the novel in order to have lots of action scenes and a happy ending. In the book, Johnny only hears of about the fighting at Lexington and Concord- in the movie Johnny is shown in the thick of the fighting. That's understandable (film's need action), but what is not forgivable is the ridiculous joyousness of the battle scenes- Johnny and his friend, Rab, hide behind trees, shoot at redcoats, and seem to be having a grand time! They also occasionally break out into song- "Oh, we are the Sons, oh, we are the Sons, the Sons of Liberty!" (It's just as bad as one could imagine.) Disney selling war as a boys' adventure is exactly the opposite of what Forbes intended in her novel.
Forbes was not cynical about the ideal of American Revolution- the war was fought so that "a man could stand up." However, Forbes let the reader know that that simple hope came at a terrible price. The character of Rab, Johnny's best friend, is a remarkable seventeen year old boy. He's smart, handsome, fearless, and oozes charisma. He's a boy destined to be a great man. Yet it's not be. At Lexington Green, as Rab stands among the Minutemen confronting the might of the British Empire, he is mortally wounded in the first volley. He never even got a chance to fire his own musket. He dies the next day, propped up in a chair with blood pouring from his mouth. Forbes wanted young readers to know that war is not a boy's adventure- it robs the world of its best and brightest at a very young age. By having Rab walking around, alive and well, and singing that awful song at film's end, Disney succeeded in completely botching its film adaption of "Johnny Tremain." This is one book that is crying for a remake!
Is there something that was done that make it a bad movie, the language or what? Do others object to Disney movies as well especially the early ones?
I would not recommend seeing this movie prior to reading the original book, because the cast of characters is greatly simplified for the movie and you may find yourself saying "Who's that?" if you wait to read the book until after seeing the film.
By the way, I think Revere's using a grease pencil and not a Magic Marker in the silver shop consultation.
That said, the movie is well cast,especially the characters of Dr Warren, Paul Revere and James Otis.(Jeff York as always was wonderful).
Hal Stalmaster, who never to my knowledge made another film is just fair as Johnny.Dick(Richard)Beymer is a little goofy as Rab and has fun with the part(unfortunately it doesn't go anywhere.)Luana Patten as Cilla was too old for the part. A previous reviewer said that this film is ripe for a remake. I totally agree. Lets make a film(made for TV or otherwise that really does this literary treasure justice!
I think there are plans for either an animated film or TV series or a live action movie. There will be a series of books and graphic novels as well.
Looking forward to something new and exciting about the American Revolution.
One of my students was able to point out, literally, two dozen MAJOR historical inaccuracies -- The Tea Party took place in Boston in December, yet people are dressed like they're in Orlando in August; the Battle of Lexington took place outside Boston in April, when there is usually snow on the ground, yet the movie shows beautiful New England fall foliage! If THIS is how people learn about American history, no wonder most of our population knows NOTHING about our history!
People who think this is a wonderful movie obviously live in a Disney-created bubble world where every day is sunny and no one ever dies. They'd LOVE Disney's version of "The Civil War", played by Mickey and Donald, where North and South sing together happily while the bluebirds sing.
If you want a good laugh then, READ the novel, then (if you can stand it), watch this movie!
Hal Stalmaster plays Johnny and does a fine job, considering this was his only film role. I'm not sure why his career didn't go any further but I will assume it was by his choice. Pretty Luana Patten is fun as his friend and potential love interest. The cast is full of recognizable faces like Sebastian Cabot, Virginia Christine, Whit Bissell, Walter Sande, Will Wright, and Richard Beymer. It's an old-fashioned and pleasant piece of entertainment. Slow-going at times but never boring. Fine Disney production with solid direction from Robert Stevenson. It's a good watch if you aren't uptight about every little detail that might be historically inaccurate
I am just now listening to the original story as a book on tape and really enjoy the fuller version also.
Both the film & the book are recommended!
I fell in love with this movie as a 12 year old. It weaves fictional teenagers into events surrounding the founding of America.
I am just now listening to the original story as a book on tape and really enjoy the fuller version also.
Both the film & the book are recommended!
The legendary events you read about as a school child come to life in a rousing, patriotic tale. While Johnny is a fictional character, most of the others in the movie are real people such as Revere (with his famous ride), Samuel Adams, and Dr. Warren. Hal Stalmaster is a very likable young Johnny, all innocence and idealism. Walter Sande (Revere) and Rusty Lane (Adams) look like their namesakes and give powerful performances.
This wholesome Disney family movie may be more appreciated by parents than their children (who no doubt have to read the source novel by Esther Forbes in school). It really brings all the names and facts to life and is quite inspiring. Highly recommended.
The first half hour is close enough to the book to entertain the fans. The character of Johnny has been changed from arrogant and cocky to pure and innocent in the best tradition of Disney films which can hardly come as a surprise but to expect anything else out of a kid's movie is to be let down. The second half hour loses the mood but keeps near the plot. The Boston Tea Party is entertaining although the singing after it is unforgivably Disney. But by the last half hour the book is thrown to the winds as we see the war first hand. Something about seeing laughing children dancing around the countryside shooting at redcoats struck me as kind of disturbing for a Disney film. Obviously war was a great adventure that people could enjoy in a typical '50s fashion where nobody but the bad guys got hurt and everyone could share a nice drink afterward. Oh, and somebody who is supposed to die, whose death gives the entire book meaning, doesn't. That would be too dark for a Disney film.
Now if I thought that any of those additions were beneficial to the movie I couldn't really complain but none of them worked. The first battle was alright but the psychotic killing kids having fun was just awful. The producers probably couldn't see why this might be considered 'creepy'. The acting from the lead is awful and he doesn't seem to have been in anything else afterward. The guy playing Rab seemed to bring a little of the distant charm described in the book but the script doesn't give him more than one or two moments. Walter Sande as Paul Revere was good as were a few of the founding fathers but nothing to write home about.
On the plus side the sets are marvelous. I've never seen colonial Boston come to life so well since, largely due to an absence of Revolutionary War films. The Battle of Lexington is moderately well done rather obviously leaving open the question of who fired first. And the first half hour entertains. So in conclusion: good book, good sets, bad everything else. Remake anyone?
I've Read the Book Johnny Tremain for my Reading class..and we had workbooks to go with it that we had to answer questions and do strategies for the chapters we read...then when we were done with the book we got to watch the movie.
What i remember from the book is that: Johnny Tremain is an apprentice boy that lives at the Lapham's family and learns about silversmith. One day John Hancock came and ordered a sugar basin. Johnny promised to get it done by Monday morning, but the promise was broken was because Mr.Lapham wouldn't help johnny at all with the making of the sugar basin..and johnny had to break the Sabbath rule..and on that day..Johnny burnt his hand with REAL HOT SILVER!!! and found out that the bandages had made the thumb grow with the WHOLE HAND!!! :(
Now he is REALLY sad and one of the Laphams girls,Isannah doesn't want to have johnny near her because his hand creeps her out..... Johnny feels that god has turned away from him and so he was to go to the Lyte's house and show them the cup. The cup was given to him by his mother and was told that if god turned away from him then to go to the Lyte's and show them the cup was because Johnny's mother is Merchant Lyte's Niece...But Merchant Lyte doesn't know that his niece,Vinny(JOhnny's Mom) had as child..so when he did bring it to his house....they arrested him because he said the cup was stolen in august....they went to court blah blah blah and Cilla Lapham one of the Lapham daughters saved him was because johnny showed the cup to her on July...... Johnny's real name is Jonathan Lyte Tremain...Mother's name is Lavinia(Vinny) Lyte, and fathers name is Charles Tremain( Charles Latour when he was prisoner of war for the french and Indian war)
so ya..i'm tired of typing so i guess if ya need help...ya can email me....well have fun!!!
I think this book is Good!! because some parts are sad..and some are good it's a good book..u should see the movie too!! well l8r bye!! ;)
Johnny moves out and lives with his new best friend name RAB, and he works as a delivery boy for the BOSTON OBSERVERS.
There are not a whole ton of movies about history that are very close to the facts. Some are so far away that you just can not believe it. I was surprised with Johnny Tremain. I had not read the novel but I know a lot about the times of Paul Revere, George Washington, and the wars, and this had sticked very close to the facts. Some times facts can be boring, but this movie made the facts true and entertaining.
Here is the plot. This movie focuses on Johnny Tremain, an apprentice of a silversmith. Johnny has to fix a cup. Then, one day, Johnny wrecks his hand when he touched hot material. His fingers are molded together. Since he can not be an apprentice of a silversmith with a hand that can not work Johnny finds a new job. He is then arrested by a man named Lyte because he thinks he stole a glass. Johnny is proved innocent. Johnny then becomes a messenger for the Sons of Liberty. Then, here comes the Boston Tea Party! Johnny's hand is fixed. Then, he has to fight in the Battle of Lexington. He does not die, but he knows that the war is far from over.
Overall, this is a very well-done historical film. It had some good acting, but some of the acting was mediocre and sometimes bad. The music in this film is like any other Disney movie, but the Sons of Liberty song is pretty good and very catchy. I also like the fact that not only this film is close to real-life, but it is also very close to the book, or so I was told.
Recommended Films: Saving Private Ryan (For the war, at least.)
Oh well, if it's meant as pure entertainment, it's pretty harmless. The highlight is the Boston Tea Party, but most of the movie is kinda hokey. The only cast member whom I recognize is Richard Beymer, who played Tony in "West Side Story" (although I've heard of Sebastian Cabot).
All in all, "Johnny Tremain" very much has the feeling of Disney.
*When George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, etc, were doing their stuff, they probably never envisioned George W. Bush, Tom DeLay, etc.