"I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress!"- John Adams
This week's movie of the week is 1776.
The film version of the Broadway musical comedy of the same name. In the days leading up to July 4, 1776, Continental Congressmen John Adams and Benjamin Franklin coerce Thomas Jefferson into writing the Declaration of Independence as a delaying tactic as they try to persuade the American colonies to support a resolution on independence. As George Washington sends depressing messages describing one military disaster after another, the businessmen, landowners and slave holders in Congress all stand in the way of the Declaration, and a single "nay" vote will forever end the question of independence. Large portions of spoken and sung dialog are taken directly from the letters and memoirs of the actual participants.
William Daniels, who plays John Adams, also played John Quincy Adams (John Adams' son) in the mini series "The Adams Chronicles" (1976) (mini), Samuel Adams (John Adams' cousin) in the TV movie The Bastard (1978) (TV) and John Adams again in the TV movie "The Rebels" (1979) (mini). He was also the voice of Kit on Knightrider. Cool!
President Richard Nixon was given a private screening of the movie before its
release by his friend Jack L. Warner, the producer. The song "Cool, Considerate Men" offended Nixon, so Warner removed it at his request. The song was restored on the Deluxe Widescreen Presentation Laserdisc (and was included on the DVD).
The song "The Egg" was written very late into the writing process for the Broadway show. So late, in fact, that promotional material had already been printed and it was upon seeing a poster depicting an eaglet coming out of a British eggshell and holding an American flag that Sherman Edwards came up with the song.
A Musical scene from the film...Piddle, Twiddle, and Resolve (uncut)
John Dickinson: Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Lee, Mr. Hopkins, Dr. Franklin, why have you joined this... incendiary little man, this BOSTON radical? This demagogue, this MADMAN?
John Adams: Are you calling me a madman, you, you... you FRIBBLE!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Easy John.
John Adams: You cool, considerate men. You hang to the rear on every issue so that if we should go under, you'll still remain afloat!
John Dickinson: Are you calling me a coward?
John Adams: Yes... coward!
John Dickinson: Madman!
John Adams: Landlord!
John Dickinson: LAWYER! [a brawl breaks out]
Abigail: I never asked for much, after all, I am Mrs. John Adams. That's quite enough for one lifetime.
John Adams: Is it, Abby?
Abigail: Well think of it, John, to be married to the man who is always the first in line to be
John Adams: I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Don't worry, John, the history books will clean it up.
John Adams: Hmm... Well, I'll never appear in the history books anyway. Only you. Franklin did this, and Franklin did that, and Franklin did some other damn thing. Franklin smote the ground and out sprang George Washington - fully grown and on his horse. Franklin then electrified him with his miraculous lightning rod and the three of them, Franklin, Washington and the horse, conducted the entire revolution all by themselves.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: [pondering] I like it.
It sounds like an abomination but it's great. Four outta four.
and as a bonus, Sesame Street offers us a scene from 1776- with Grover helping Thomas Jefferson (Don Music) write the Declaration of Independence.