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|Index||35 reviews in total|
First of all I do like the film, for a TV movie it's more than decent.
However I do take issue with the way the hessian "mercenaries" are
depicted, especially Washington's monologue on how he can't comprehend
men willing to help in the suppression of the American people merely to
make money. I don't know if that's an authentic quote and Washington
didn't know better, but the fact remains that those "mercenaries" were
conscripts from German principalities, especially Hessen-Kassel, whose
monarch Landgraf Friedrich II. financed his lavish court life imitating
that of Versaillles by selling his troops regiment-wise to the English.
While properly trained, none of these soldiers were mercenaries. They were mostly the sons of peasants and artisans that were pressed into service and sent overseas to fight for a foreign king in a hostile country. With the exception of a few high ranking officers who spoke french or English they were mostly unable to communicate with the locals. Later on however, as the hessians eventually got a better understanding of the conflict, more than a third of them deserted their regiments, joined the American forces and stayed after the end of the war. Also part of the American force that won the final victory over the British in Yorktown was an all-volunteer German regiment under the command of General von Steuben.
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.
I loved that simple, not overloaded with special effects, straight and very honest movie. The American revolutionary war was full of great events and the Crossing of Delaware in 1776 is one of those. The filmmakers did a decent job by depicting the gruesome and tiresome movements to the battle, the battle itself and its aftermath. Jeff Daniels is one of my all-time favorite actors, and here he shines as General Washington. His part is convincing, deep, decent and very real to life, He is a man of flesh and blood and he does what any officer will do in his stead. The film is dark, it really manages to show the coldness of winter, the harsh conditions, the hunger and misery of the army before the battle. It does show the brutal naked reality of war with its cold-blood cynicism and simple strife for survival. This is a must see movie
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.
While I was struck by how powerful of a moment in history this was, I'd
have to downgrade my rating due to a couple of things. The graphic
nature of some of the violence was perhaps more than necessary;
however, what disturbed me most was the out-of-character tolerance of
profanity among the men and worse than that, his own use of profanity.
On August 3rd, 1776, General George Washington was so distressed by the use of swearing and cursing among his men that he issued the following order to all of his troops: "The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish, and wicked practice, of profane cursing and swearing (a Vice heretofore little known in an American Army) is growing into fashion; he hopes the officers will, by example, as well as influence, endeavour to check it, and that both they, and the men will reflect, that we can have little hopes of the blessing of Heaven on our Arms, if we insult it by our impiety, and folly; added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense, and character, detests and despises it."
A great injustice has been done by portraying George Washington's character in a manner that is far less than he really was. I have not idealized him either, but know that some aspects of how he has been characterized are not accurate. How much more rich it would have been to have included such a quote in this movie, but do the producers see that this wouldn't be entertaining enough or maybe they shaped his character more so according to what they thought he must have been like? Why not seek to dig deeper to bring challenge for those today to consider the character of a man that is rarely seen in Washington today? What a lost opportunity to have made this movie of an unsurpassed quality.
Read for yourselves about the real George Washington and be careful not to succumb to Hollywood's depiction.
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.
What can I say but I was blown away. Ironic that it was filmed in Canada. The mood, the narration and especially the acting is superb. Jeff Daniels hits a home run as George Washington. After being disappointed by Gettysburgh, with the exception of Daniel's portrayal of Joshua Chamberlain, THE CROSSING delivered a visceral, realistic and compelling look at our history. Please watch this film.
Good movies covering the Revolutionary War are few and I'd be surprised how
many of any value are out there. I enjoyed the acting and excellent
representation of all the historical figures in "The Crossing".
I'm juxtaposed to the stand that one viewer represents because there is no way to sugarcoat war, pretend that brutality didn't exist, nor disguise any profanity with "oh piffles". All things considered, it wasn't at all anything like the way other wars were portrayed.
Just remember to turn the TV off when little ones are around, or video tape it so you can watch it when they are asleep. To create an historical slice of life and portray it in a whitewashed manner would be an injustice and totally inaccurate. Not to mention the incorrect perception that older youth will get as to what war is all about. That would be the biggest lie of all.
I'm giving "The Crossing" five stars on the merits of it telling an
important story, and the solid performances turned in by Roger Rees,
Sebastian Roche and a few others. But the film is seriously compromised
by three things.
First, it's an absolutely bog-standard Hollywood treatment of a historical event, pulling together every trope in the industry (and underscoring how you're supposed to feel with insistent mood music at every turn).
Second, although the Hessian troops were certainly worthy of concern, a far worse enemy was the weather. From all accounts, the weather that night was horrific -- practically a blizzard -- with snow, sleet, high winds and huge chunks of ice floating down the swiftly-moving Delaware River to contend with. In fact, the snow was falling so heavily and the winds were so strong that the Hessians at Trenton actually canceled guard duty for the night because they would be unable to see or hear anything more than a few feet in front of them! (And in reality, they weren't drunk or hung-over; they were exhausted from not sleeping because they did indeed expect the Continental Army to attack; deserters had tipped them off that Washington was planning to attack, but no one knew when.) Does the film reflect this godawful weather? Nope, it has characters saying that they're cold, there's some rain, and (in one scene) there's a dusting of snow on the grass. That's it. The river is placid, winds are calm, there's no snow or ice floes. Absurd! Could the studio really not afford to give us some fake snow or styrofoam "ice floes"?!
But the worst thing about "The Crossing" is Jeff Daniels' depiction of Washington. To begin with, the script portrays Washington unlike reality. For example, when General Rall asks to surrender his sword directly to Washington, Washington refuses to accept it and wants to send a subordinate in his place. His aide tells him that he must go and accept it, as that's part of the honor code of officers. Newsflash to the filmmakers: George Washington was an officer in the British Army long before he was a revolutionary; he certainly would've known the proper protocol for surrendering. Indeed, there is no historical basis for this part of the film; it seems to have been invented out of whole cloth.
Even worse is Daniels' evocation of Washington's character, which runs contrary to every contemporary account from his friends, which show him as a man impossible to anger -- circumspect, taciturn and reserved; a man who preferred to talk as little as he could get away with, and when he did, he used neutral and carefully-chosen words. Daniels mischaracterizes Washintgon's temperament and manner of speech, and he also brings none of the necessary gravitas to the role. Washington may have been a man of few words, but he also cut a very imposing figure in his bearing. Daniels' Washington appears as a rather small man with a bad temperament, and no amount Daniels' grimacing or attempts to chew the scenery can make up for it. On those grounds, "The Crossing" is, unfortunately, a failure.
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