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Primary Colors & 1776

Must be on a political movie kick right now.

Seen Primary Colors several times now and the tightness of the script continues to astound me. I'm amazed how the scenes accomplish so much with such economy and humour and drama. Performances are great too of course. Emma Thompson (whose accent sounded artificial to me when I first saw the movie) still does empathy better than anyone, even when she's playing a hard-nosed political machine, and especially when she's silently reacting.

The book for 1776 has been called the best book in musical history and, I think I can see why. As a musical I'm not sure it works. Most of the songs are unremarkable (repetitious lyrics tripping over themselves to fit into the melody... and this by a composer/lyricist). Some of the performances in the film are flat... or is that sharp? (I'm thinking William Daniels as John Adams here - very much an actor who can't sing...) But the debate culminating in the declaration of independence is magnificently written.


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