04 July 2012

A Man's Movie: Pacino's Revolution

Al Pacino and the draft board

Pacino and Hugh Hudson on location in King's Lynn, Norfolk

When 'Revolution' came out in 1985, I was a Park Ranger at Valley Forge and so my love for the film is biased. It's amazing to watch and why shouldn't it be. Almost $30 million in budget was thrown up there on the screen. For an 18th Century fanatic, it was colonial porn in beautiful glossy colour. 'Colour,' since it was shot in the U.K. (see 'making of' with director Hugh Hudson here.)

Films about the American Revolution (or, The American War for Independence), tend to have a schmaltzy feel about them. Everyone is spic and span clean, sets look like hotel rooms in Williamsburg and there's a tendency to clobber you over the head with a patriotic halberd.

Revolution, while refreshingly authentic, raw and of the time, swam in hokey dialogue made worse by anachronistic accents. I came away thinking it would be far better with the sound turned down. One critic suggested it would be 200 years before another film about the American Revolution would ever be made. Revolution grossed just under $400,000.

A Blue Ray DVD (here) is out with commentary by Al Pacino and Hudson. Pacino always thought there was something special about the film. I always thought it was Donald Sutherland who turned in the best role as a sadistic sergeant major. He captured the accent and tone while Pacino is as out of place as a cap and ball Navy Colt in a world of flint locks. Still, if you get turned on by 18th Century porn as much as I do, give it a shot. Grapeshot or roundshot, there are those who think it overlooked and well worth the time to be seen again. "There's freedom in them muskets, boys!"

1 comment:

Brummagem Joe said...

Like you Tintin I'm heavily into 18th century porn but this movie really was a bummer. It was no accident it only grossed 400k. Only surpassed by that other one where Gibson got to work out his Anglophobia on screen.