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Taking Liberty (1993)

| Drama
Independent Nell Prescott gets involved in intrigue and heroism during the American Revolution and meets Benjamin Franklin along the way.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Barry Bell ...
Baron Von Wolfsburg
Ron Bianchi ...
Mr. Thatcher
Robert Boynton ...
British Soldier / Dungeon Guard
...
Major John Simco
...
Adam
Jim Gloster
...
(as Mike Harding)
Shannon Kenny
Brad Moranz
...
Sarah
Alan Sader
...
(as W. Morgan Sheppard)
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Independent Nell Prescott gets involved in intrigue and heroism during the American Revolution and meets Benjamin Franklin along the way.

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Filmed as a TV pilot on location at "Old Salem" a living history museum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Salem was founded by members of the Moravian Church in 1753. See more »

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Taking Liberty, Indeed!
17 March 2008 | by (Maine) – See all my reviews

"Taking Liberty" does just that -with military and political facts, social strata, clothing, food, drink, music, all the day-to-day minutia of 18th century Colonial life. Within the first three minutes of the opening credits, we are treated to the unbelievable sight of a Tory woman riding astride. Never mind that she's wearing petticoats, too: it just would not have been done, certainly not by a woman of her class. David Odgen Stiers may be well-cast as Benjamin Franklin, aka "Poor Richard", but the part as written reduces this incredibly significant and complex man to a cartoony caricature, one surrounded by gewgaws and experiments gone awry and prone to spouting pithy parables and folksy sayings masquerading as wisdom. Some of Franklin's words are, in fact, incorporated into the narrative to give some color and shading to the times. Points to the movie for that, but beyond that bit of grounding, this is purely made-for-TV tosh.

It's bad enough that we have become so ignorant of our own beginnings of a nation, the hard truths buried under bunting and masked by a mythology of our own making, but it hasn't become quite so awful as to let pseudo-history such as "Taking Liberty" stand in for the real deal. Alan Alda once said that making a movie about the American Revolution was an exercise in futility - and then he went and made a movie about making a movie about the American Revolution. "Sweet Liberty" took certain liberties of its own, but it does offer a glimpse as to why Rev War movies are difficult, to say the least. If you cannot take yourself seriously, then you must take yourself completely lightly. Instead, "Taking Liberty" wants us to take their zipped-up-the-back dresses and button-down-the-front shirts as seriously as it wants us to take a Benjamin Franklin played for laughs. Were it not for the ever-hammy, scenery-chewing David Warner as Sir Leopold, this turkey would be utterly unwatchable.

RevWar reenactor types, however, may LOVE this movie, as it is a non-stop gagfest of farby clothes, fabricated history and outrageously inappropriate and anachronistic conduct. Good for a laugh but not much else.


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