1776 (1972)

For his last production, former Warner Bros. chief Jack Warner did something truly original: he optioned the rights to a hit Broadway musical and filmed it with relatively few changes, even engaging the original writers, director (Peter H. Hunt) and most of the cast. It helped that one of the writers was Peter Stone, who had written the screenplays for such hits as Charade (1963) and Father Goose (1964), and that the cast included such accomplished pros as Howard Da Silva as Benjamin Franklin, John Cullum as Edward Rutledge, Blythe Danner as Martha Jefferson, William Daniels as John Adams and Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson. They gave Warner what fans consider an almost irresistible musical voyage through American history. Initially, however, the film wasn’t popular: after a soldout run at the Radio City Music Hall, the film had trouble finding an audience in general release, partly a victim of changing styles in music and musical films (it came out the same year as Bob Fosse’s Cabaret). Yet it has become an enduring favorite: the play continues to enjoy revivals in local theatres and schools, while DVD and television airings have added to its popularity over the years.

(d. Peter H. Hunt, 142m Digital)

New 4K definitive Director’s cut restoration from the original negative, which includes some footage not previously seen and presented in collaboration with director, Peter H. Hunt, and Sony Pictures.

In attendance: William Daniels, Ken Howard, Peter H. Hunt