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The Howards of Virginia
The Howards of Virginia
Actors: Cary Grant, Martha Scott, Cedric Hardwicke, Alan Marshal, Richard Carlson
Director: Frank Lloyd
Genres: Drama, Military & War
NR     2003     1hr 56min

With its straightforward retelling of events leading up to the American Revolution, The Howards of Virginia is a standard slice of patriotism from Hollywood's golden age. Adapted by noted screenwriter Sidney Buchman from E...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Cary Grant, Martha Scott, Cedric Hardwicke, Alan Marshal, Richard Carlson
Director: Frank Lloyd
Creators: Bert Glennon, Frank Lloyd, Paul Weatherwax, Jack H. Skirball, Elizabeth Page, Sidney Buchman
Genres: Drama, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Classics, Family Life, Military & War
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/25/2003
Original Release Date: 09/19/1940
Theatrical Release Date: 09/19/1940
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 56min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 13
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, Japanese

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Movie Reviews

A miscast mishmash
RickyT | United Kingdom | 08/10/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This movie,adapted by Sidney Buchman from Elizabeth Page's massive 1939 best-selling novel "The Tree of Liberty",is one of those curious Hollywood hybrids:part grand historical epic,part modest family soap opera.Set in the second half of the eighteenth century during the build-up to,and subsequent battles of,the War of Independence,the story centres on the the relationship between Matt Howard (Cary Grant),a down-to-earth,restless,spirited and idealistic young woodsman,and Jane Peyton (Martha Scott),a privileged Virginia debutante.They meet,marry,and move to the rough-and-ready district of Matt's youth.Slowly,however,the differences that once seemed not to matter - class,for example,and old family allegiances - come to serve as the source of serious tensions.Matt,an old and firm friend of Thomas Jefferson,is drawn into the struggle againt the British colonial powers,eventually joining the army and fighting in the revolutionary war,while Jane,reflecting the conservative values of her cosseted upbringing,remains fervently opposed to the republican cause.Matt,therefore,faces two battles:one to defeat the British,the other to save his marriage. This ambitious movie never quite finds a proper balance between the epic and the intimate,moving backwards and forwards between the two without ever really finding either coherence or conviction.Scott is competent in an unimaginative role,but Grant is badly miscast and never looks or sounds remotely at ease.Sidney Buchman,a fine screenwriter who would later become a victim of McCarthyism,is too eager to illustrate his strong beliefs about Jeffersonian democracy and its legacy,turning some scenes into condescending history lessons and some characters into caricatures (he covered the same ground intellectually in "The Talk of the Town",but with far greater subtlety and a more assured dramatic touch). This is not,however,a bad movie,just a disappointing one.The period detail is vivid,particularly in those scenes that were shot on location in Williamsburg,and the action is staged and choreographed with a certain degree of skill.If one is frustrated by the unevenness and clumsiness one is still able,none the less,to admire the scope and the energy.The print,apart from the occasional pop and crackle,is in fairly good condition,and this particular edition comes with an original theatrical trailer."
I was dubious...but I truly liked it!
Fernando Silva | Santiago de Chile. | 08/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Upon reading some reviews I was afraid I wasn't going to like this Epic Historical("Americana") Drama I got as a birthday gift, but gladly I enjoyed the almost two hours of film.

Cary Grant is my favorite screen actor, top of the tops, and yes, this is not his usual role or movie, but he did a great work impersonating heroic Matt Howard (from Albemarle Virginia), who rises from a being a poor lad to become a hero & notorious citizen. I think his performance is very good, it's believable, although Cary Grant fans, who like him mostly in comedy, probably won't like this one and probably will skip it.

Martha Scott, an actress not a "star", gives a very fine, strong, performance as his upper-crust wife (Jane Peyton), and kudos to Cedric Hardwicke for his complex portrayal of Grant's nemesis and brother-in-law (Fleetwood Peyton). Richard Carlson is very sympathetic as Thomas Jefferson.

Fine sets, good pacing and directon by Frank Lloyd (who also directed "Mutiny on the Bounty", among many others), and the DVD transfer is pretty good.

Great entertainment!

Worthwhile viewing
Marguerite C. Matthews | Spring, Texas | 05/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a fine movie for adults to watch along with their children. I totally enjoyed the political IN-correctness of this movie. Filmed on location in Willimsburg before the town was turned into Revolutionary Themepark, the street scenes truly were what they would have been during the revolution. Historical movies today work too hard at either beating us over the head with societal inequalities or pretending they didn't exist. In the 1700s Legislators were men, women stayed on the sidelines, black people were slaves. To deny the truths of the period is to deny the valour of the people who fought for change since then. The story moved quickly and the reasons for Revolution were clearly spelled out as affecting the whole nation, not just about one or two people as we have recently seen in movies like "The Patriot". Although most of the women's costumes were awful (zippers were obvious), the furniture detail and most of the men's costumes were well done. I would recommend this movie as worthwhile viewing."
A very big Cary Fan Hates This One!
A. Desantis | Lexington, KY USA | 05/15/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"As much as it pains me to say, this is a terrible movie for Cary-and a terrible movie in general. All of Grant's strengths are hidden while he is asked to play a rugged, outdoorsman with no polish, class or sophistication. It sounds like a bad joke, doesn't it? Well it is. It hurts to watch this great actor stumble through this movie. Please keep in mind that I am a huge(maybe even obsessive) Grant fan, owning over 30 of his DVDs. This is, however, by far my least favorite. Sorry. Save your money and invest in the new Criterion edition of "Notorious.""