This brief one hour TV episode from 1951 covers an American patriot who is little known today. James Otis had a significant influence in the years before the American Revolution. He was an early champion of freedom and equal rights for all people. This TV production is the only one I know of about Otis. Well, it's somewhat about Otis. But, unfortunately, it touches only a single effort he made on behalf the colonialists. Much of his greater contributions was left out.
This TV production was very "stagey." The cameras clearly showed the sets as such, so one had the feel of watching the stage production. The actors in this Studio One production by CBS were all fine for their parts. Rita Vale's role as Ruth Otis was true to the real character, and Harry Townes played an irascible and gregarious Sam Adams. Charlton Heston was very good with the material given him, but his role was short shrift.
The script tried to develop the main characters well, but it did that to the sacrifice of Otis's achievements. Clearly what is needed is a full length movie on James Otis that would do both. I'm surprised that no one has done such. There is more than ample material for covering his key years as a patriot. I'm sure there are still enough of us left who are interested in history and who would buy tickets to watch a good early American period piece.
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