The Howards of Virginia


Drama / History

IMDb Rating 6.2


Downloaded 306 times
10/9/2019 1:02:37 AM

116 min
P/S 115 / 87

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 6

Movies about the American Revolution for some reason have never succeeded as well as those about the Civil War. My guess is that the best of them is Drums Along the Mohawk and that was about one of the more obscure theaters of that war.<br/><br/>Like Gone With the Wind, the Howards of Virginia is taken from a rather sprawling novel. But Gone With the Wind was very faithful to the original and managed to hold interest even given its length. The Howards of Virginia is a condensed version of the novel and some of the characterization has been sacrificed in the screen translation.<br/><br/>Nevertheless it&#39;s a good story about a fictional Matt Howard from his days as a youth hearing the news about his father&#39;s death with Braddock&#39;s army in the French and Indian War to just before the Siege at Yorktown. Of course growing up with Thomas Jefferson, it&#39;s not surprising that Howard develops the opinions he does.<br/><br/>Cary Grant is cast against type as Matt Howard. Takes a bit of getting used to in buckskins, but I like his characterization. In point of fact if you want to see the real Cary Grant on screen look at None, But the Lone Heart, Gunga Din, or Sylvia Scarlett. That&#39;s where you see the real Archie Leach. Cary Grant was the best role Cary Grant ever played.<br/><br/>If The Howards of Virginia were made 10 years later, Burt Lancaster would have been spot-on in terms of casting.<br/><br/>Martha Scott is fine as the Tory girl that Cary Grant woos and wins. It&#39;s quite a culture shock for her coming to the mostly unsettled Shenandoah valley among Grant&#39;s frontier friends and neighbors, but her best scenes in the film are at that point.<br/><br/>Of course I think both Grant and Scott are acted off the screen when Cedric Hardwicke is on. As Scott&#39;s older brother Fleetwood Payton, Hardwicke is easily the best in the film. He&#39;s a privileged Virginia aristocrat and loyalist supporter of the crown. He&#39;s an aristocratic snob to be sure, but he&#39;s also a tender and loving brother to Martha Scott. Hardwicke managed to capture all the elements in Fleetwood Payton well as well as his losing his mind as his well ordered aristocratic world tumbles down about him.<br/><br/>Richard Carlson is very much what I picture as the young Thomas Jefferson, full of new ideas and quite the rebel against his own class. Of course Patrick Henry and George Washington make their appearances as well in colonial Virginia. My guess is that in the book a whole lot of familiar names made it there, but were not in the screenplay.<br/><br/>This is not the American Revolution&#39;s Gone With the Wind, but taken on its own terms The Howards of Virginia is good entertainment and does capture some of the motivating spirit behind the Virginia patriots and tories.

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Reviewed by MartinHafer 9

Despite rather mediocre reviews here on IMDb and in Leonard Maltin&#39;s guide, I really liked this movie. Unlike the few other American Revolution films Hollywood has made, this one was both interesting and did an excellent job in conveying WHY the Colonists were rebelling and didn&#39;t paint the British as total buffoons or Nazis (like in THE PATRIOT). Plus, the main character&#39;s father-in-law is a loyalist, so the real tensions that existed within families was given decent treatment. As an American History teacher, I must point out that despite coming from Hollywood in 1940, the realism in spirit is quite surprising and I could recommend this to kids, as they&#39;d learn a lot.<br/><br/>It was odd to see Cary Grant as a bit of a rag-tag outdoorsman, but he carried it off better than I&#39;d expected. Plus, his British accent really wouldn&#39;t have been out of place in the Colonies at that time.<br/><br/>Another big plus for the film was the relationship between Grant and his sons. Yes, it&#39;s a bit manipulative, but I really liked the way the writers dealt with this relationship in the movie. All in all, an excellent film.

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Reviewed by mountainkath 3

I love Cary Grant and that&#39;s the only reason I kept watching this movie. It felt like it was about four hours long.<br/><br/>While the story itself was pretty solid, the execution was very poor. Grant&#39;s accent wasn&#39;t consistent at all (it was there, and then gone, then Irish, then English, then gone again, etc.) and neither he nor his wife appeared to age (despite the movie taking place over 20 years). I also felt some of the major characters (like his brother-in-law) were too one dimensional. <br/><br/>I&#39;m a huge classic movie buff (and Cary Grant buff) so I&#39;m glad I watched the movie, but it&#39;s not on my list to watch again. Unless I have insomnia.

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