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Give Me Liberty (1936)

Patrick Henry's rousing speech before the Virginia legislature argues for colonial independence.

Director:

B. Reeves Eason

Writer:

Forrest Barnes (story and screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Litel ... Patrick Henry
Nedda Harrigan ... Doxie Henry
Carlyle Moore Jr. ... Captain Milton
Robert Warwick ... George Washington
George Irving ... Thomas Jefferson
Boyd Irwin Boyd Irwin ... British Commissioner
Gordon Hart Gordon Hart ... Anti-Rebel Delegate Speaker
Myrtle Stedman ... Martha Washington
Shirley Lloyd Shirley Lloyd ... Party Guest Giving Patrick a Violin
Ted Osborne Ted Osborne ... Randolph Peyton (as Theodore Osborne)
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Storyline

George Washington tries to encourage gifted orator Patrick Henry to use his considerable powers to argue the case for colonial independence before the Virginia House of Burgesses, but the lawmaker's promise to his wife initially deters him. When the political climate changes, she eventually gives her consent, and Henry delivers his rousing "Give Me Liberty" speech to an enthusiastic legislature. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 December 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Technicolor Specials (1936-1937 season) #2: Give Me Liberty See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vitaphone production reels #7766-7767. See more »

Goofs

The guests at General Washington's house are shown dancing to Beethoven's "Minuet in G," which was not composed until 1796. In fact, Beethoven was only born in 1770, i.e. five years after the events shown at the beginning of the film. See more »

Quotes

Patrick Henry: Cold words like cold food are slow to warm the blood.
See more »

Connections

Edited into The Bill of Rights (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

America
(uncredited)
aka "My Country 'tis of Thee"
Music from "God Save the King"
Lyrics by Samuel Francis Smith
Sung by a chorus at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Salute To A Patriot
14 March 2003 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

A Vitaphone Technicolor Short Subject.

John Henry's passionate `GIVE ME LIBERTY' speech in 1775 rouses the Virginia legislators into joining the American Revolution.

This fine little film focuses in on Patrick Henry (1736-1799) and what finally led him to declare his beliefs regarding political separation from Great Britain. Actor John Litel does a magnificent job in performing the great speech which was delivered by Henry at St. John's Church in Richmond.

The film errs in putting too much of a romantic twist into the plot, with Henry missing his wife so much that he can't get motivated to make his declaration until he sees her enter the church balcony unexpectedly. The real story is more interesting. Henry's first wife, Sarah Shelton, whom he married in 1754, had gone completely insane. Mental illness was not understood in the 18th Century and was considered somewhat shameful. It is indeed ironic that Patrick Henry, that great champion of human liberty & freedom, kept his mad wife confined in the cellar. It was not until after her death that he wed Dorothea Dandridge.

GIVE ME LIBERTY won the Academy Award for Best Color Short Subject for 1936.

Often overlooked or neglected today, the one and two-reel short subjects were useful to the Studios as important training grounds for new or burgeoning talents, both in front & behind the camera. The dynamics for creating a successful short subject was completely different from that of a feature length film, something akin to writing a topnotch short story rather than a novel. Economical to produce in terms of both budget & schedule and capable of portraying a wide range of material, short subjects were the perfect complement to the Studios' feature films.


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