The Bill of Rights (1939)

Approved   |    |  Short, Drama, History

The Bill of Rights (1939) Poster

This short subject is a lavish costumed color production which dramatizes the birth of the American Bill of Rights. It depicts leading political figures of the American Revolution and the ... See full summary »


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14 July 2008 | Doylenf
| Historical short given A-film values and Warner Bros. gloss...
Another in the kind of historical shorts the major studios produced during the '30s and '40s, given Grade-A production values and using the studio's stock company of supporting players for the leading roles.

THE BILL OF RIGHTS begins in 1774 in Williamsburg, Virginia with the colonists insisting that while they "respect the motherland", they are demanding a bill of rights for "the home country". What follows is a fervent replay of American history with the Americans vs. the British, with the British considering ways to get the "hot-blooded colonists" to obey their commands.

Patrick Henry's famous "Give me liberty or give me death" (overacted by JOHN LITEL) is a part of the proceedings, as are other fragments of history including the Minute Men and ending in 1787 with rebellion among the colonists as they work on an Amendment to preserve "the Bill of Rights".

Sets and costumes are strictly Grade A in presentation but the acting is uniformly stiff and self-conscious. Best in the cast is earnest TED OSBORNE as James Madison, while the rest of the cast indulges in energetic but stilted acting under Crane Wilbur's direction.

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