1776 (Restored Director's Cut)
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
You'll be seeing stars and stripes as the most fascinating leaders in American history come to life in 1776, a musical about the birth of a nation! With the Boston Harbor still stained from over-taxed British tea, a revolution is brewing in the colonies! And now England has thousands of troops headed for America's shores to squelch her subjects' freedom-loving spirit! It's up to John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to convince a stubborn congress of British colonists to unite as American patriots turn the inevitable war with England into a Declaration of Independence!
The 2002 DVD release of 1776 offers the 168-minute "director's cut" version of the film, which is about 20 minutes longer than the VHS release (though still shorter than the previously released 180-minute laserdisc, which director Peter H. Hunt has said included some material he didn't care for). Among the additions are a main title with overture, an introductory verse to "He Plays the Violin," and more balance to the conservative Southern bloc of the Congress, especially in the musical number "Cool Considerate Men," which--according to Hunt and screenwriter Peter Stone on the DVD's commentary track--was removed at the request of President Nixon and supposed to have been destroyed. Hunt and Stone also offer historical background, comparisons to the original Broadway show (which they also directed and wrote), comments on what the cast is doing 30 years later, and satisfaction with this restoration (perhaps it will also lead to a long-awaited CD release of the soundtrack?). Picture and sound are very good, the widescreen anamorphic picture preserves the film's wide tableaux, and five brief screen tests are worth watching once. In sum, it's a very satisfying and often engrossing treatment of a lesser known but much loved musical. --David Horiuchi
- Restored director's cut edition
- Screen tests for William Daniels (John Adams), Ray Middleton (Colonel Thomas McKean), James Noble (Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon), Leo Leyden (George Read), and Rex Robbins (Roger Sherman)
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Peter Stone's book is remarkably accurate in relating the historical events; the biggest error a historian would point to is that John Dickinson (Donald Madden), did not show up the day of the crucial vote so that Pennsylvania would not kill Independence. But Broadway and Hollywood must be allowed to make things more dramatic. What makes "1776" so wonderful is how it teaches history while being so entertaining. The opening of the film, where the tirade by Mr. Adams against the do nothing Continental Congress is interrupted by the collective Founding Fathers jumping up and singing "Sit Down, John," sets the tone and Peter H. Hunt's film delivers throughout. The show's best moment comes in "Is Anybody There?" when John Adams, all alone in the quiet chamber, dreams of the pomp and pageantry of a free America.
I also have the laserdisc version, which runs 176 minutes and includes 35 minutes of material originally cut from the film, including the song "Cool, Considerate Men" and alternative shots in several sequences. While the quality of the additional material is in very sad shape, fans of "1776" will take what they can get. Hopefully the complete film can be restored before we get to the DVD version (hint, hint, hint). Granted, the idea of a musical about the Declaration of Independence seems bizarre; I once blew off a chance to see "1776" on stage because I thought the idea was stupid. But this is a first-rate musical that makes the time and issues come alive, so that even thought we obviously know the outcome, we are enthralled because it looks like Mr. Adams will never get his Declaration adopted. If you are looking for a film to watch each 4th of July, "1776" is the one.
"Cool Cool Considerate Men" was as powerful and entertaining as any song in the film, a personal favorite of the director. But after a negative reaction from the White House regarding the scene's anti-conservative tone, studio executives agreed to remove eight solid minutes. So great was the pressure that the original negative and all known parts of the scene were destroyed. A search began for any version of the missing footage.
Meanwhile, the option of using the soundtrack album as a source of stereo music was rejected because of the heavy reverberation added prior to release. Columbia Records later provided access to the original sixteen-track master tapes of the songs, background music and some of the reprises, but unmixed and unbalanced. Complete sound for "Cool Men" was located in this massive collection. The final sound for this laserdisc was essentially reassembled from scratch.
The movie premiered in 1972, approximately forty minutes shorter than Mr. Hunt's original cut! Legendary producer Jack L. Warner personally supervised a series of cuts intended to accommodate additional showings on daily schedules, a necessity happily irrelevant to home video. The major theatrical release and all previous video releases ran 141 minutes, down from three hours. "Cool Men" was among the last cuts made.
Columbia graciously released box after box of priceless film and soundtrack from their storage facility in Kansas. The fact that this footage even exists today is a testament to the studio's respect for filmmaking. Amazingly, even small strips running a fraction of a second were preserved. Mr. Caporiccio, assisted by Michael Matessino, poured over this treasure trove of "lost" material. Long hours were spent readying the sound note-by-note to match the new transfer.
The magnitude of the possibilities became clear after playing a three-channel orchestral tape of "Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve." Mr. Caporiccio picked up William Daniel's voice carrying over to the nearby musicians' microphone, singing lyrics that were not in the movie! Recorded and filmed, these additional shots were prime material for inclusion once again. Now he and Michael Matessino stepped up their efforts. Footage was cleaned by hand, color retimed, individual frames repaired.
Finally, color "Cool Men" footage began arriving in bits. Miracle: a complete set of the excised scenes had secretly been set aside by the editor on the 1972 trimming project! Painstakingly edited and synchronized to the stereo tracks, it is now presented as the director intended all along. In the end only one scene in the film had to be taken from the black-and -white workprint and a five second transitional scene was never found.
The restored film on the laserdisc was presented in the widescreen format and remixed for true stereo sound using the original multi-track units (in some cases as many as twenty-four tracks). It contained a total of 40 minutes of footage not seen since the two premiere screenings in 1972, including reconstructed OVERTURE and INTERMISSION music. Other highlights of the Laser Disc version were the full opening credits, newly incorporated character closeups and additional music for several songs. The running time was once again 180 minutes. The 1992 Pioneer Laser Disc Special Edition of 1776 was one of the most ambitious video restorations ever performed.
For the 2002 DVD release, the replaced footage has been repaired, giving the DVD a much cleaner look visually than the laserdisc, but the film has been shortened to 166 minutes. The overture and entr'acte music have been removed entirely and the song "Piddle, Twiddle, and Resolve" has inexplicably been shorn back down to its original release length. The delightful reprise of "The Lees of Old Virginia" has also been completely removed. One minor plus; a short piece of footage following "Cool, Conservative Men" has been found and reinserted.
And now (finally, in 2015) the director's cut of 1776 has made its way to Blu Ray and it includes a "branching version of the movie" which incorporate many of these missing moments mentioned above from the Pioneer Laser Disc,scrubbed up and restored to as pristine a quality as possible. The results (I'm very happy to say) are magnificent!
Via seamless branching there are two distinct cuts available on the Blu-ray: The Director's Cut and the Extended Cut.
The Extended cut has everything that was on the Laser Disc except the following:
1) Overture [created for the LD... even in its longer form, the movie was not meant to play with a pre-credit overture]
2) Entr'acte [also created for the LD release... no intermission was intended]
3) The scene of Jefferson (sitting on a window sill in Congress) watching some children playing (rather patriotically) as a young girl looks back up at him and smiles.
4) an extended scene (just after the conclusion of Yours, Yours, Yours): Instead of the blackout (that now occurs between scenes) there was one continuous scene showing the breaking dawn as Franklin arrives, after taking a piece of fruit in the marketplace, and finds Adams asleep on the stairs below Jefferson's room while a lamplighter blows out a nearby streetlight
5) The underscoring to John and Abigail's final scene [leading into "Compliments"] -- though the underscoring to Franklin's entrance has been
The Director's Cut has a line restored that was changed prior to the theatrical release... When Stephen Hopkins comes back from "visiting the
necessary" he now says, "You'd think Congress would have its own pisser." In the release print and all other home video editions (including the Blu-ray's Extended Cut), the line is "You'd think Congress would have its own privy."
Other than that, the Director's Cut is mostly the same content as the DVD [though the Franklin underscoring is in, and there may have been some tweaks in the Martha Jefferson scene]
However, under the circumstances, this should not deter anyone from buying this (now majorly improved) version of this classic and truly great American musical on Blu-ray. This is by far the best-looking restoration of 1776 we have yet to see and (most likely) the last - at least as far as the content goes.
* * * for the 2002 Director's Cut / * * * * for the 2015 Blu ray with additional footage.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Set up an Amazon Giveaway
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Look for similar items by category
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Kids & Family
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Musicals
- Movies & TV > Movies
- Movies & TV > Musicals & Performing Arts > Musicals
- Movies & TV > Studio Specials > Sony Pictures Home Entertainment > All Sony Pictures Titles
- Movies & TV > Studio Specials > Sony Pictures Home Entertainment > All Sony Pictures Titles