A Messy Version of Arnold
Roger Kennedy | 07/03/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A@E normally produces pretty good stuff. For some reason they never really got it together on this one. The subject matter is certainly good, but the chronology of the story seems confused. For one, this should have been a longer story. At least another hour could have included and clarified many aspects of Arnold's complex career in the Revolution. As it stands here many important events are left out, including the battle of Freeman's Farm, as well as his clever deception of the Indians which fouled Berry St. Leger's drive down from Oswego. These were important aspects of Arnold's career, which should have been included. The excessive romance scenes with Peggy could have been cut down to make room. Jeff Daniels would have been better to have as Washington. He was so good in "The Crossing" which was a much better film. The relationship with Major Andre is grossly over-stated. Aidrian Quinn does an adequate job playing Arnold, but his work is not made easiler by an overall weak support cast, and poor editing. What is good about the DVD version is that you get the true story of Arnold's life from the A&E Biography thats included. An overall attractive production with unfortunate short-comings."
The wronging of Benedict Arnold and his reaction
Charles Ashbacher | Marion, Iowa United States(email@example.com) | 12/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"He has gone down in history as a traitor, which is true. Had he succeeded in his plan to allow the British to capture the fort of West Point and General Washington, there would have been no United States in the eighteenth century. However, the true story is much more complex than that of a man selling out his country. He was the best field general in the U. S. army, his victory at Saratoga, where he personally led the charge to victory, established the Continental army as a viable military force. Seriously wounded in the leg, he was forced to spend a great deal of time convalescing.
During this time, an ungrateful Congress forced him to resign and promoted a politically connected incompetent ahead of him. His old friend George Washington manages to convince him to return to service and he is named military governor of Philadelphia after the British depart. He forcefully intervenes to stop mobs from hanging loyalists and looting their property. He also attempts to mend the fences between all factions, inviting all groups to a party. Unfortunately for him, he falls in love with the daughter of a loyalist and eventually marries her. This creates a scandal, he is removed from his position as military governor and is named commander of the fort at West Point. The Congress does not give him his back pay and then sends him a bill for goods. The Philadelphia mob attacks his house and he is humiliated. He is then transferred to the command of the fort at West Point. Urged by his wife, he plots to betray the colonial army and when the plot is discovered, he barely escapes before being captured.
The best part of this video is that it destroys the historical myth that all of the colonists fighting against the British in the war of independence were idealists who put country before personal gain. The Continental Congress was split by major political factionalism and most people placed loyalty to their state over that to the new nation. People used their positions of influence to profit, gain revenge and destroy those considered rivals for power. At times not even George Washington could stand against them. While Benedict Arnold did betray his country, he suffered so much before he did so that it is difficult to fault him. Aidan Quinn and Kelsey Grammer give superb performances as Benedict Arnold and George Washington. This is another one of those historical videos that should be required viewing in all history classes covering the American war of independence."
Very Good Movie
James L. Farmer | Fort Mitchell, Kentucky United States | 03/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have to say that my rating was graded on a curve. I'd say this movie is some where between a high 3 and a low 4. Basically the equivalent of a C+ or B-. My disappointments with the movie was that I felt that it could have been 30 minutes longer and better edited. The story line seemed to jump around a tad. As for Grammer & Quinn? I thought that they both did a great job portraying Washington & Arnold.
I would recommend this DVD for those curious about Arnold. This movie sparked my interest in Arnold when it was first televised and convinced me that Benedict Arnold's treason was more tragic then anything. The DVD also has the A&E Biography of Arnold and is well worth the money."
Underfunded, overwritten and often extremely badly acted
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 05/07/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Underfunded, overwritten and often extremely badly acted, Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor aka Field of Honour, has a great story but it constantly shows its roots on the A&E Channel by putting long and florid quotes from the real characters' historical correspondence into the mouths of actors ill-equipped to deliver them aloud. Kelsey Grammar fares best as George Washington but Aidan Quinn is often hopelessly at sea as Benedict Arnold, a bit of a problem when he's the main character. It's an interesting attempt to look at the way the jealousy, snobbery and parsimony of those on his own side led the revolution's most brilliant and successful soldier to become its most notorious traitor, but cinematographer-turned-director Mikael Solomon fails to bring enough life and vitality to the rushed narrative to disguise the bad writing, low budget and poor casting while the accuracy doesn't extend to the production design: Valley Forge looks like a gentleman's summer retreat, Quebec is reduced to a field with a log fence and the American War of Independence something that took place in a few fields and streets in Ireland. Dull stuff."