James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, November 06, 2006

Nixon's Missing Minutes

I am referring, of course, to the cut scenes of the movie 1776. Producer Jack Warner showed President Nixon the film before its release in 1972. Nixon objected to the "Cool, Considerate Men" number and some other material. All in all 35 minutes were cut, which was probably wise commercially; the uncut version runs around 2 hours 45 minutes.

This musical is, as you may guess, about the struggle for America's independnece, and is centered on John Adams' fight for it in the Continental Congress.The offending "Cool Considerate Men" features anti-independence member John Dickenson leading the wealthy members of Congress in singing "To the right, ever to the right, never to the left, forever to the right." I suppose Nixon objected to any notion that right-wing Toryism of the 1770's was the same as right-wing Republicanism of the 1970's.

But an even more interesting scene I believe was cut from the previous version (at least, I don't remember it) features South Carolina's Edward Rutledge wanting clarification on what the new nation would be like. South Carolina would be independent of England, yes, but also independent of any other government; the new American states would be free to pursue their own affairs. John Adams pauses, and then assents that, yes, this is what the new nation would be like.

And indeed, the Declaration they signed asserted that the thirteen colonies were each individually independent.

Many Americans today would consider that idea treasonous.

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