Time for FilmEdge’s annual 4th of July recommendations for cinematic celebrations of America’s independence, born on the big and small screens but always rousing good entertainment across the fifty states. While you’re out at the beach or the barbeque or watching fireworks, set your DVRs or grab a DVD and enjoy!
Turner Classic Movies is showing several great 4th of July films on Sunday, including:
Frank Capra’s optimistic struggle against political and corporate corruption, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939). Starring Jimmy Stewart as the neophyte Senator, Jean Arthur as the jaded insider won over by the innocent, Claude Rains as the political mentor, and Edward Arnold as the corrupt string-pulling boss, the film may look a bit dated in fashion but still rings true in its message that American liberty and democracy require continued vigilance to maintain for all. Airing 6:30am ET/3:30am PT.
Also tune in for the film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical 1776, featuring many of the original cast including William Daniels (as John Adams), Howard Da Silva (Benjamin Franklin) and Ken Howard (Thomas Jefferson) along with stage director Peter H. Hunt at the helm. Consistent with its 1968-era genesis on stage and 1972 theatrical release, this drama about the Revolutionary spirit also makes some comments about the price of independence and war amid the stirring and often humorous songs by Stone and Edwards. Airing 2:30pm ET/11:30am PT.
James Cagney follows that act with his song-and-dance filled tribute to George M. Cohan in YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942). Directed by Hungarian filmmaker of CASABLANCA fame, Michael Curtiz, this musical biography topped the wartime box office for its release year, singing the praises of Cohan’s show biz patriotism spanning both World Wars. Yankee doodle don’t miss it. Airing 5:30pm ET/2:30pm PT
HBO‘s excellent 2008 mini-series JOHN ADAMS runs again, based on David McCullough’s historical biography of the Founding Father and second President of the United States. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney are electrifying to watch as John and Abigail, sharing a marital and political partnership for over half a century. Adams’ zeal for justice and liberty are counterbalanced by his impatience and ambition as he evolves from lawyer to reluctant representative and eventually American leader. HBO airs the entire 7-part series beginning Saturday night at 8pm, though FilmEdge highly recommends picking up the DVD or Blu-ray set to add to your all-American collection.