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March 2008, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
"Peter C. Rollins" <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 14 Mar 2008 20:39:36 EDT
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Dear Film & History Scholars,
The HBO series based on the David McCollough book and titled JOHN  ADAMS
cycles up for the first time on Sunday night.  (Check local listings  for 
MARCH 16, 2008.)
IMDB has basics and there is an HBO web site for the mini-series.
David McCollough has revived the reputation of Harry Truman and his book  
Adams was extremely popular.  It will be interesting to see how  director Tom 
overlays his interpretation of a popular book.  Indeed, the director  is 
almost invisible
among all the "stars" involved in the production.
Paul Giamatti, who plays John Adams, is the son of Bartlett Giamatti  
(1938-1989), first a Yale
professor of comparative literature and then the commissioner of baseball,  
an interesting coda
to his life.  Paul, the son, was the troubled protagonist of  _Sideways_ and 
is a "surprise" choice
for such a role, but may have been a good one. 
Those of us with interests in film and history will be interested in:
1. Reconsidering the interpretation and "new research" reflected in the  book 
by McCollough.
    I remember when it came out that it was praised for  original research 
into the Adams letters,
    all of which had been in print since the late  1930s.  (I remember being 
assigned to read a
    goodly number of them as a junior in  college.)
2. Examine how the motion picture medium brings Adams to life.  Adams  was a 
Federalist, but--over
    the years--there developed a category known as the  "Adams Federalists."  
These folks were to be
    distinguished from the nasty Hamiltonians of the  Federalist crowd.  Will 
the film get into such 
    details or will it presume an ignorant audience and  waste all its 
resources telling a story not new
    and not even cinematic.
Or will we say "Sit Down, John!"?
Sunday night the seven part series begins.
Peter Rollins
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