Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1972. Columbia Pictures Corporation. Screenplay by Peter Stone, based on the play by Sherman Edwards, Peter Stone. Cinematography by Harry Stradling Jr.. Produced by Jack L. Warner. Music by Sherman Edwards. Production Design by George Jenkins. Costume Design by Patricia Zipprodt. Film Editing by Florence Williamson, William H. Ziegler.
The months leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence are the subject of this elaborate and dense musical. While the unpopular, obnoxious John Adams fights for American emancipation from the tyranny of England, he is supported by the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin and opposed by many of the other representatives of Congress. They debate, discuss and have some dragged out fights before they all see the value in becoming their own, independent nation for the world to behold. Intelligent and thorough, the occasional burst into song isn’t as awkward as you might assume and compromises none of the film’s genuine efforts for historical accuracy. Beautifully photographed by Harry Stradling and handsomely produced by Jack L. Warner with very little changed from the original Broadway production, it’s a film that you’ll hate if you’re not in the right mood for it. Its mammoth length and talky dialogue will thrill historical enthusiasts, while anyone looking for some juicy romance or action had better look elsewhere. Features a dewy young Blythe Danner as Martha Jefferson.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Cinematography
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy