Tuesday, March 18, 2008

John Adams

I've just seen the first two parts of the seven part miniseries John Adams on HBO. Starring Paul Giamatti as John Adams, Laura Linney as Abigail Adams, David Morse (one of my favorite character actors) as George Washington, and Tom Wilkinson (he played General Cornwallis in The Patriot). The production drips with authenticity, or enough to snow me under. The language, clothing and sets all appear spot on. I found myself drawn into the dialog and action. So much of the action appears almost incidentally, as if the characters really didn't expect it, nor do we.

I grew up worshiping on the altars of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin. Little of my history lessons told of the machinations of John Adams. It is a pleasure to actually learn something in an entertaining milieu. Seeing how the Continental Congress drug it's heels incessantly before finally being pushed into decisions rings true today. And it is John Adams pulling the strings. Jefferson is presented as an idealist - eschewing speeches for the purity of the written word, where his sentiments can be more exact. Washington is the honorable soldier, who feels it is his duty to lead, not his desire. Franklin has his smart aleck moments - when he tells Adams that Washington is the tallest man of the lot, so he would be bound to lead something. Abigail Adams is shown to be the wisdom and strength behind her husband. There is a touching scene where Washington takes some letters from her for her husband, since the mails are less than reliable.

I'm no historian. I have no idea how accurate all of this is. It is based on the biography John Adams by David McCullough. He based much of the book on the extensive letters written by John and Abigail. At any rate, HBO has me hooked. I'll be watching the next five episodes come hell or high water.


Unknown said...

Yay, Franklin! Somebody had to have a sense of humor. Plus, I hear he was made of metal.

Was that first part true?

John said...

Huh, wrong account. It's me.

Bob's Blog said...

Mc Cullough is quite a writer. I have read most of his 1776 book. I have had a hard time finishing it, because it gets a bit depressing to realize the incredible hardships encountered by Washington, his men, and their families.