Tuesday, August 19, 2008

John Adams...

I'm not sure what to say about this film. It was certainly well acted and I loved the music in it. However, the characters of Washington, Franklin, Hamilton and even Adams to some extent were characatures of themselves. Hamilton was a great and wise man responsible for the genius of our federal banking system. He was a renaissance man who was right and brilliant in many things, but is only portrayed in this film where his purposes are crossed with Adams, which happened, but it doesn't really do either man justice.
I do get bugged at the constant portrayal of Franklin as a rake, he was not. I do think he gave women more credit than many of his generation. He knew they had information. He found women in France who were sympathetic to the American cause and he played a brilliant role in France for his country. Just as Adams was the right man in Holland, Franklin was brilliant in France. (It is important to know that Franklin's wife passed away in 1774.)
Wikipedia has listed just a few of the inaccuracies in the film, but I found many more. I'm not saying that HBO did a poor job here, they just may have had an impossible task. John Adams was right in the middle of so many of the most important pieces of American History that a six hour film can at it's best be only a glimpse into the life and activities of this man. This film is historical fiction and I would recommend extensive reading before seeing the film. The film is marketed as being based on David McCullough's book John Adams... I would say very loosely based. So, if you've done your reading... I recommend seeing it, if not do your homework first. Knowing the truth is important.

Here are a few recommendations:
Angel in the Whirlwind by Benson Bobrick
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Dearest Friend by Lynne Withey
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
Our Sacred Honor by William Bennett
John Adams by Davic McCullough

1 comment:

American Pen said...

I loved watching these dvds and I'm so glad you commented on them because I would have had my opinion be blindly led by them. You are right that you just can't sum up these years in a few dvds and the artistic liberties of the film make for some inaccuracies I am sure. Thanks for the great post! And thanks for the book recommendations! Woo!!!