Tuesday, May 25, 2010

John Adams

Trailer HBO mini-series produced by Tom Hanks and starring Paul Giamatto as John Adams and Laura Linney as Abigail

I was watching this in the wee hours this morning. It is a 501 minute mini-series or a something over 8 hours and it was due Monday so had to be in the drop box before the library opened this morning. I had planned to watch the whole thing overnight but it took me too long to get my post up last night.

This is also the story of the first fifty years of the United States of America. The opening scenes of part 1 features the Boston Massacre and the closing scenes of part 2 features the voting of the Continental Congress for the Declaration of Independence.

That is where I had to quit this morning. I have just put in my request at the library for it and hope to have it back inside two weeks. There are four copies all of which were out or being held but there were no more requests pending before mine so I should get the next one coming due on the 29th.

I've also requested the Pulitzer Prize winning book by David McCullough on which the film was based. I couldn't resist when I saw the large print copy.

I am just as interested and maybe more so by the story of Abigail as it is presented in this film. Mccullough's book, I understand, depended a great deal on the correspondence between John and Abigail and based on those exchanges it is fairly obvious that Abigail had a great deal of influence on John, shaping his reaction to events and thus having her hand in shaping the results. Especially by her calming effect on his bristling demeanor and his tendency towards vanity regarding learning and his oratorical virtuosity.

In other words without the skills of diplomacy she taught him there might never have been a Declaration of Independence, a successful Revolutionary War culminating in a United States of America woven of the 13 very differently motivated colonies.

Once I realized I could not hope to watch the entire series before I had to let it go, chose to begin by watching the two documentary pieces included in the set.

One was The Making of John Adams. It discusses the FX, costumes, sets and other things that went into making the film as true to history as possible.

The other was an examination of the life and work of the historian David McCullough entitled Painting with Words. I'd especially been eager to see this one and was so glad I did when it reached this scene:

I could really go for an office of my own like that. Though I could not give up some form of word processor and return to 1940s era manual typewriters, I could imagine banning the internet from such a writer's sanctum. Not from my life entire but I am beginning to think that I will never seriously work on my own stories as long as I have 24/7 access to the web.

0 tell me a story:

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