Westinghouse's Studio One presented this dramatization of the life of James Otis, one of America's reluctant Bostonian revolutionaries caught up in the orbit of Sam Adams. A young Charlton Heston plays Otis with characteristic patriotic zeal, and he is supported by a good cast of character actors.
The story portrays the basics of Otis' somewhat tragic life with some exaggeration, but not that much. Otis was an Advocate for the British governor who turned on the British administration because of their refusal to recognize the sanctity of private property. He produced a strong legal argument against the infamous Writs of Assistance, which permitted British agents to search and seize private property without a warrant.
The film is reminiscent of the educational films which were sometimes shown in secondary school classrooms in the 1970s, but is better scripted, performed, filmed and produced than most of these. In short - more entertaining.
The script is economical and keeps the story moving along. The cinematography is nothing special, but the directing and acting are good enough to make it work. There are a surprising number of nicely choreographed and well-acted long shots with pans which are more complex than the average 1951 TV dramatization. The soundtrack is also OK.
Recommended for those interested in the American revolution, Charlton Heston, and Legal history.
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