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The film version of the Broadway musical comedy of the same name. In the days leading up to July 4, 1776, Continental Congressmen John Adams and Benjamin Franklin coerce Thomas Jefferson into writing the Declaration of Independence as a delaying tactic as they try to persuade the American colonies to support a resolution on independence. As George Washington sends depressing messages describing one military disaster after another, the businessmen, landowners and slave holders in Congress all stand in the way of the Declaration, and a single "nay" vote will forever end the question of independence. Large portions of spoken and sung dialog are taken directly from the letters and memoirs of the actual participants. Written by
Dave Heston <heston@iName.com>
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826 - the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence's ratification. This has since become common knowledge, but at the time, Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone didn't include the fact in the play because they believed no one would believe it. See more »
Richard Henry Lee talks as he mounts his horse, yet his mouth is closed. See more »
The theatrical version has no credits at the beginning other than "Columbia Pictures presents" and the film's title. The Director's Cut and the extended laserdisc edition includes a main title sequence at the opening. See more »
This movie scarcely saw the light of day in Britain and has not been seen on T.V. there for 20 years and this is their loss as this intelligent,witty and tuneful musical is up there with the best of its genre. Okay,so no-one goes round whistling these tunes like they do for the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Loewe but the music and lyrics provided for "1776" work like a dream and all are zestfully performed.As for the cast,you imagine that if you were to travel back in time these 200 years and more and asked the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin to sing to you,this is what they would have sounded like and these are the words they would have sung.William Daniels,short in stature but long in charisma was perfect here as John Adams.A shame that the big screen did not make greater subsequent use of this gifted performer.Full marks to all of those involved.
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