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Colonial Period Films?

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moira finnie
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Colonial Period Films?

Postby moira finnie » July 4th, 2014, 11:15 am

Image

Watching "The Howards of Virginia" (1940) this morning on TCM, I cringed inwardly for Cary Grant, and I was reminded that the star swore off costume pictures after this sojourn into colonial times. [So, how did he explain the existence of 1957's "The Pride and the Passion"...oh, well--it was Sophia Loren, after all...].

In any case, my fevered brain reminded me that in "Elia Kazan: A Life," the autobiography of the great director, he shared an observation about movies set in that era of American history:

While visiting Hollywood during the production of the musical set in early New York in the colonial era, "Knickerbocker Holiday" (1944), director Elia Kazan wrote that he "ran into the little gimpy wardrobe man who'd dressed me a couple of years before for my 'Dead End' test. He said hello, and when he turned to look at the rehearsal, I did too. He was always a taciturn fellow, but he said something to me then which I've not forgotten....he pointed to the actors working in their Revolutionary War wigs and said, 'See those costumes? There's never been a success in those costumes.'"

Others on the crew working on the film told Kazan when he asked about "the [Nelson] Eddy film" that it was 'Pretty good.' In Hollywood, Kazan concluded, "great means pretty good, good means medium poor, and pretty good means lousy.'"

So, gang, what do you think? Has there ever been a really good or near great movie about colonial and revolutionary war days?

P.S. Happy Fourth of July!
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Re: Colonial Period Films?

Postby Professional Tourist » July 4th, 2014, 11:27 am

moirafinnie wrote:Has there ever been a really good or near great movie about colonial and revolutionary war days?

Sure, 1776, which I'll be watching later today. :)

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Re: Colonial Period Films?

Postby Rita Hayworth » July 4th, 2014, 11:38 am

Moira,

Great Topic of Discussion Here ...

http://allthingsliberty.com/2013/01/top-10-revolutionary-war-movies/

1 John Adams – 2008. Paul Giamatti.
2 April Morning – 1988. Tommy Lee Jones, Chad Lowe.
3 Drums Along the Mohawk – 1939. Henry Fonda, Claudette Colbert. Director: John Ford.
4 Johnny Tremain – 1957.
5 The Crossing – 2003. Jeff Daniels.
6 All For Liberty – 2009. Clarence Felder, Chris Weatherhead.
7 The Devil’s Disciple – 1959. Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Laurence Olivier.
8 The Patriot – 2000. Mel Gibson.
9 The Scarlet Coat – 1955. Cornel Wilde.
10 America – 1924. Lionel Barrymore. Director: D.W. Griffith. Silent.


Excellent Link Here ...

http://www.world-history-movies.com/colonial-times.html

All of these films are outstanding ...


Of the 10 that I listed here ... Number 6 is an independent film of which I saw in 2009 in Portland, Oregon with a couple of friends of mine and I highly recommend it. Very Realistic and so visually appealing ... if you and anyone loves this film - I recommended watching ALL FOR LIBERTY ...

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Re: Colonial Period Films?

Postby RedRiver » July 4th, 2014, 2:38 pm

I believe John Ford's epic DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK is our best example. Can we count DeMille's UNCONQUERED? It pre-dates the revolution, but it's pretty close. To be honest, I halfway enjoyed "Howards." I don't know if I'd watch it again, but it didn't offend me.

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Re: Colonial Period Films?

Postby Lucky Vassall » July 4th, 2014, 3:43 pm

Antenna TV is showing Devil's Disciple Saturday night. I'm looking forward to seeing it again after 55 years!
AVATAR: Billy DeWolfe as Mrs. Murgatroid, “Blue Skies” (1946)

“My ancestors came over on the Mayflower.”
“You’re lucky. Now they have immigration laws."

Mae West, The Heat’s On” (1943)

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Re: Colonial Period Films?

Postby movieman1957 » July 5th, 2014, 8:48 am

It's not great but "Allegheny Uprising" is good enough.
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Re: Colonial Period Films?

Postby kingrat » July 5th, 2014, 4:30 pm

I do like 1776, but it's so 1960s in its belief that if the characters cuss enough, then it's OK for us to like them.

The Devil's Disciple isn't bad. Sorry to have missed The Scarlet Coat, which sounds interesting.

Perhaps it's our reluctance to delve into the issue of the third of the colonists who supported the British. This could make for great drama, but it never has.

As for The Patriot, this is a viciously anti-British film which pretends that they locked colonists in a church and set it afire. It may be slightly less moronic than Braveheart--not a very high standard--but is intended to stir up present-day anti-British sentiment, just like Braveheart.

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Re: Colonial Period Films?

Postby RedRiver » July 5th, 2014, 4:36 pm

There's a cable show called TURN. About spies, I gather. I've seen just enough of it to know I have NO IDEA what's going on! What little I've seen doesn't look all that interesting. Programming did a good job in attaching it to MAD MEN. That, alone, attracts Don Draper groupies like me!

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: Colonial Period Films?

Postby Rita Hayworth » July 6th, 2014, 7:56 am

1776 ... is an enjoyable musical/colonial movie to watch and I do like this movie too.

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Re: Colonial Period Films?

Postby RedRiver » July 6th, 2014, 3:22 pm

Musical theatre doesn't translate well to the screen. But 1776 is a spectacular play! I saw a touring company when I was about 16. It was the first professional production I ever saw. To this day, I'm not sure I've seen a better one.

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Re: Colonial Period Films?

Postby Professional Tourist » July 6th, 2014, 11:20 pm

RedRiver wrote:Musical theatre doesn't translate well to the screen.

Some stage musicals have translated well to the screen; some have not.

Here are some good transfers, in my opinion:
Fiddler on the Roof
The King and I
1776
Kiss Me Kate
Godspell
Show Boat
South Pacific

And some not-so-good transfer, IMO:
Man of La Mancha
Sweeney Todd
Camelot
Annie

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Lucky Vassall
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Re: Colonial Period Films?

Postby Lucky Vassall » July 7th, 2014, 3:07 pm

Professional Tourist wrote:Some stage musicals have translated well to the screen; some have not.

Here are some good transfers, in my opinion:
Fiddler on the Roof
The King and I
1776
Kiss Me Kate
Godspell
Show Boat
South Pacific

And some not-so-good transfer, IMO:
Man of La Mancha
Sweeney Todd
Camelot
Annie

Totally agree with both of your lists. Permit me to suggest a couple of additions:

GOOD!
My Fair Lady
Cabaret
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Oliver

BAAAAD!
The Producers
Mame
Gypsy
AVATAR: Billy DeWolfe as Mrs. Murgatroid, “Blue Skies” (1946)

“My ancestors came over on the Mayflower.”
“You’re lucky. Now they have immigration laws."

Mae West, The Heat’s On” (1943)

:–)—
Pinoc-U-no(se)

RedRiver
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Joined: July 28th, 2011, 9:42 am

Re: Colonial Period Films?

Postby RedRiver » July 8th, 2014, 12:04 pm

I guess it's a matter of taste. I don't care for OLIVER, KISS ME KATE or SOUTH PACIFIC as movies. I watched "Fiddler" just this weekend. While that is well filmed, and I consider it a good movie, the creative technique is almost a distraction. It's fine that the editing is sharp, the camera mobile. But we need to see people singing and dancing. It's a musical!


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