Monday, July 18, 2011

1776 (1972)

Links: TVTropes, Wikipedia, IMDB (7.3).

This period-piece musical presents the dramatized debates of the American colonial congress that ultimately voted for independence from the British Empire in 1776.  A lot of people, critics especially, have been rather unhappy with the resulting film... but, honestly, I rather liked it.  It's a caricature, as you might expect from a period-piece musical, but it hits the important notes with surprising attention to accuracy given the genre, and it manages to be rather entertaining while it does so.  The film does have a mood switch from a lighthearted beginning, to the politicking over the call to end slavery ("Molasses to Rum"), to an increasingly somber assessment of the terrible cost of war and the odds of winning ("Look Sharp", "Is Anybody There?", the final dispatch) but it actually pulls this off with a surprisingly deft hand as the slow but steady pace piles on the growing tension.  The restored director's cut footage includes a song that was nixed by Richard Nixon's request ("Cool, Considerate Men"), but the restored segments aren't necessarily worth the extra 20 minutes.  Score: 3 stars out of 4.

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