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This movie was a generally good movie about the Continental Army's early
years in the American Revolution, and how close America actually came to
staying a British colony for God knows how much longer. The movie shows
General Washington's daring attack on the Hessian garrison at Trenton,
was the first American victory of the war and one that was vital to
maintaining the fragile Continental Army and our young democracy's future.
The crossing, the battle, and the unseasonable cold are all shown really
well and I liked putting myself in the unenviable position of General
Washington who could either do nothing, and lose his entire army and
disappear into obscurity(or wind up on the gallows), or attempt something
daring and emerge a hero(or a foolhardy general). As it was, George's
at Trenton went down in history as a great American victory when one was
desperately needed at the time. Although the war would last almost 8 years
more after this attack, Trenton proved to the British that they weren't
dealing with armed rabble who were raising a fuss over a few cents in
General Washington's meetings with the generals and Colonel Mercer were also very insightful into how close the American Army was to collapse in the early years of the fight. Soldiers volunteer slips were coming to an end, Generals were fighting each other, and the infamous General Winter was coming in to help things... No attack could have been more ill-advised, but Washington's succeeded and this movie portrays everything leading up to it wonderfully
8 out of 10.
Jeff Daniels' acting really holds you spellbound in this movie. Who else can play George Washington, Lawrence Chamberlain (in "Gettysburg"), and still be funny in "Dumb and Dumber"? In the making of "The Crossing" which was shown afterwards, they interviewed him about playing the part of Washington, and I was really impressed with how much research he had done for the movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Crossing is one film I've been looking forward to viewing. History
has always appealed to me and thought it would be a good view. Jeff
Daniels holds the lead of the film and hoped he would deliver a good
film. And boy does he ever deliver.
Jeff Daniels is Gen. George Washington and delivers the most believable portrayal I've seen. He is portrays Washington as exactly how he would have been: tired, disheartened, but still with a glimmer of hope. His words are delivered in the voice a general way and just seems to capture the man perfectly.
The supporting cast is excellent. Sebastian Roche is perfect in the portrayal of Col. Glover. He is bored, rebellious, and one of the smartest men in Washington's army. Roche is able to deliver every line he says with the emotion (or in some cases the annoyance) needed to give the film a little more humor.
The film covers from the week before the crossing of the Delaware to the Battle of Trenton. The battle scenes, though few, are filmed as they should be in any film. Graphic, intense, and heart-pounding. The battles show the brilliance of his plans and how un-prepared the Hessians were. By far the best part of the film is the way the filmmakers are able to emphasize the importance of the battle and how if they lost it was the war the lose also.
The Crossing. Starring: Jeff Daniels, Sebastian Roche, Roger Rees, and Steven McCarthy.
4 out of 5 Stars
I thought this movie was awesome. The acting was great and it was historically accurate. My students were very absorbed in this movie. I saw the movie a total of 5 times in 4 days and I was absorbed all 5 times. GREAT JOB!!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
These historical tales are generally informative and interesting, at
least lately. The 50s had a way of turning things this way and that
until, like a solved Rubik's cube, everyone watching the film felt
satisfied because it turned out the way we wanted it to. Usually that
meant, "We win." If we lost, it had to be a sneak attack or a gallant
last stand against overwhelming odds. This TV movie is better than
those humdrum fantasies. General George Washington is faced with one
problem after another and the movie doesn't spare us the details.
I don't know about the dialog. There's quite a bit of vulgarity, for one thing. It's not objectionable but it's surprising in a made-for-television movie. For another thing, Washington's men speak in carefully articulated phrases, sometimes flowery. Well, that's the way they WROTE, of course -- those who could write at all. But I suspect there was a more considerable gap between the written and the spoken word than there is today. The natural, unnatural rhythm of speech -- full of hesitations, gulps, crutch words, editing, mistakes, retractions -- doesn't really show up in the literature of the time, fictional or otherwise. It took somebody like Steven Crane to put street talk down on paper in novels like "Maggie" and "The Red Badge of Courage." The gap still exists, of course. In his State of the Union Address the president never talks the way he talks to his wife or his dog. And some of Washington's pronouncement sounds like pomposity. "Gentlemen, if God is willing, we will have our way with the enemy. I bid you a heartfelt Godspeed -- and break a leg." Although, who knows? There were no recording studios at the time.
There are also moments when something Washington says sounds like narcissism. "We have fought many time and been defeated. I will not be defeated again." Surely, he means "We." A promise that "I" will do something is reserved for General MacArthur, not General Washington. (Kids, MacArthur retreated from the Phillipines saying, "I shall return." He said it for three years, then he returned.)
It's the story of Washington's crossing the Delaware with the ragtag remnants of his army and defeating the Hessians at Trenton. The Hessians make better villains than the British because they were mercenaries from another country, unlike the "government contractors" we use today. Another reason is that they were from what is now Germany, though it wasn't then, and we've fought Germany more recently than we've fought Britain.
I'm convinced the crossing we see is more realistic than it is in that famous painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze that hangs in the Metropolitan Museum. It's revolting. Washington stands up near the bow of the boat as everybody else is working like hell to get the vessel across a river choked with chunks of ice. Only ONE MAN in that painting is actually rowing. And an enormous American flag unfolds in the breeze, as if the boat were charging ahead at sixty miles an hour. In this movie, Washington makes a mistake and misjudges the amount of time it will take to get his troops across the Delaware, despite warnings from his subordinate, Colonel Glover, who leads a contingent of Gloucester fishermen.
I said the movie was informative and it is. I didn't know, for instance, that Glover was in complete command of the loading and unloading of the stolen boats, and in command of the crossing itself while on the river. Glover, by the way, is played by Sebastian Roché, whose face was familiar to me. It took me a while to realize he'd played a hedonistic rock star named "C Square" in an episode of "Law & Order." The guy was born in Paris and speaks four languages. I also didn't realize that Alexander Hamilton and James Monroe were with Washington at Trenton. There's more honest brutality than you might expect. Six unsuspecting Hessians are caught after a Christmas celebration, hung over and half asleep at dawn, and Washington's men chop them to pieces with sabers.
It's comforting, though, to see that in such a changing and disappointing universe, some things remain ever the same. The officers ride horses while the enlisted men walk, as I did.
I first saw The Crossing in 2001, shortly after it was made, and loved it. Although I couldn't help thinking there were some inaccuracies to it, or certain things that were simply imagined. I had a chance to watch it again just recently and my opinions remain largely unchanged. For a made for TV film the production value is tremendous with a skilled cast and compelling direction. The film drives home the brutal reality of the war in the winter of 1776; Washington's army is depleted, down to perhaps 6,000 or so. He has virtually no support or leadership from Congress, dwindling supplies, and after a string of stinging defeats has been pushed across the river in absconded boats to Pennsylvania escaping the relentless British pursuit. In short, the American army is on the brink of collapse and with it goes any hope for Independence. The Crossing dutifully articulates the desperate struggle for GW and his army, the brutal winter in particular, which can be argued was their bigger enemy. Washington's gamble to divide his forces and attack the 1200 strong Hessian mercenaries camped at Trenton on Christmas Day 1776 is a remarkable feat of military/logistic heroism and human endurance. The film really does capture the misery those men must have suffered, freezing, sick, wet, just to get to the Hessians, and then fight them. Visually a great film with a nice pace and flow to it, and moments of real tension. I was actually surprised at the level of violence portrayed in the battle scenes but that's the way it was mostly fought; hand to hand. There are elements in the film that some have questioned as inaccurate or fabricated. Jeff Daniels characterization of GW infers a man with a short temper, rigorously demanding, and with utter contempt for his enemies; this persona is incongruent with what we know of Washington's character as somber, conservative, respectful, brilliant yet somewhat colorless man. GW was a professional soldier for most of his life but I thought Daniel's conceptualization of him rendered him as something of a hot headed rustic amateur. I also took issue with the portrayal of Horatio Gates as a seething fifth columnist. Gates, a former British officer who sought greater personal fortunes in the colonial army, was a poor battlefield commander but a brilliant quartermaster and administrator. Nevertheless, he held GW in low regard and felt himself better suited to lead the army. His contempt for Washington isn't in question. It's the confrontational, combative, nature of his exchanges with GW who naturally dismisses Gates for his insubordinate attitude. This too is in conflict with what we know of Gates. An opportunist, yes, but not a traitor and certainly not inclined to personally attack Washington as he does in the film. There are other historical facts simply left out such as the Hessian's foreknowledge of an imminent American attack, the fact that the army was actually split into three armies, and that the crossing was actually one of three crossings, not a singular event. However, all told a wonderful film with an engaging cast and few dull moments. Very well done.
Amazingly well written, produced, directed, and acted dramatization of
the historic events depicted in the famous oil painting, "Washington
Crossing the Delaware," by German American artist Emanuel Gottlieb
How often can one honestly refer to a costume drama as a "nail biter" or "cliff hanger?" Yet "The Crossing" is just that. The tension is nearly unbearable at times. The film skillfully communicates the anxiety that Washington and his officers must have felt as the hours slipped by and the fate of a nation literally hung in the balance.
Perhaps most amazing of all, this film, a must see for every patriotic American, was written by Howard Fast, a card carrying member of the Communist Party of the USA. How's that for irony?
The creation of the United State was perhaps the other great miracle that happened at Christmas. Produced so well on what must have been a tight budget production calendar, the director makes fine use of both location & effects here to make it feel cold and damp. The film is based on the book of the same name. I will need to check it to search for the scene where an aid to GW speaks to him about taking the surrender personally from the dying enemy general. General Washington was not interested in this "courtesy of war" and finds the term angering. The dialog is far off the otherwise stirring story line for sure. It deals oddly with "war is all about profit and nothing else". What is the point of this useless scene unless it was to make some obscure 1999 political point. Selling a "room at the inn" to a wondering young couple about to have a baby on that first Christmas may have been about profit for the innkeeper, but what did it become for the rest of us is the real question. This is a Christmas movie waiting to be discovered even if some of the facts are pushed together for drama & time, and the special effects team believed the DP when he said their exposed gear would be "fixed in the edit room". There are so many more right calls than not in this moving TV film that does this story proud.
This TV movie is a good history lesson about a very desperate time for
the former colonies trying to assert their independence post-July 4,
1776. Everyone - foreigners included like me - knows of the Delaware
crossing chiefly through that famous painting. But how many know that
Washington crossed the Delaware three times? That many of the soldiers
fighting for the British army were German Hessian mercenaries? Or that
Washington's troops were so close to being disbanded?
One thing I observed though. You really have to see this movie without having seen "Dumb and Dumber" recently beforehand. Jeff Daniels is super in the role, but watching him as Washington, I couldn't help but remember that this was the same guy whom I earlier saw had his tongue get stuck in ice at a ski ledge and had severe diarrhea problems in a previous slapstick comedy with Jim Carrey. A bit unseemly for someone playing the Father of the Nation!
All in all, this is certainly worth your time.
washington sullivan mercer mifflin col glover the marblehead fishermen and even granny gates come to life in this excellent production of howard fast's book,,, the revolution is a much underrepresented topic in the theatre yet it is capable of so many interesting yarns -- bravo!
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