US, 1988, 100 minutes, Colour.
Tommy Lee Jones, Susan Blakely, Chad Lowe, Robert Urich, Rip Torn, Meredith Salinger.
Directed by Delbert Mann.
April Morning is a fine piece of American history and an entertaining telemovie. Directed by Delbert Mann, Oscar winning director of Marty and veteran of many dramas on screen from Separate Tables, Dear Heart to many telemovies of the 709 and 80s. It has a strong cast, with Tommy Lee Jones in heroic style (rather than the villains for which he excels). The film is also a star vehicle for Chad Lowe as the teenager . coming to manhood on the eve of the war of revolution. The supporting cast is strong and includes Susan Blakely as Jones's wife, Rip Torn as the aggressive merchant, Robert Urich as a neighbour, Meredith Salinger as Urich's daughter.
The film is set in Lexington, Massachusetts, in April 1775 with the Red Coats marching towards Concorde. The people of Lexington try to stop the Red Coats on the town green and become involved in the first squeamish of the war of revolution. The film is based on a novel by historical writer and novelist, Howard Fast.
1. Interesting and entertaining telemovie? Piece of Americana? The War of Independence? The dramatising of American history?
2. 18th century decor, costumes? life styles? Mass., the spring, Lexington, the town and its atmosphere? The confrontation with the British soldiers? The fighting? The musical score?
3. The title, the focus on Lexington and Concorde, the Revolution? The significance of the Cooper's names: Moses (the leader), Adam (becoming a man)? The blooding of America? The emergence of the nation?
4. Solomon Chandler, the troops stopping him, his arms load, the brutality of the soldiers? Chandler and his aggressiveness? His plea to the men of Lexington?, Their agreement to fight, his being in the background, the first shot on the green? In the battles, taking charge, with Adam? His death? Symbol of the Revolutionary spirit, his background, fighting with the Indians, using their techniques against the British?
5. The Coopers of Lexington, Moses and his desire for peace, his work at home, his farm? Friendship with Joseph? His stern treatment of Adam, Adam's resentment? His love for Sarah? His devotion to his mother? At work, at home, the discussions with Sarah about how he should treat Adam? The meetings and his stance for peace? Principles? Not knowing what his decision would be if it came to fighting? The decision to take a stand, the signing up of the troops? His son signing up, the bond between the two? His farewell words, his affection and love? His taking the stand on the green, being shot, his death? The portrait of Sarah, her devotion and love, the good wife, the good mother? trying to reconcile father and son? Her grief at her husband's death? Anxiety about her son? The mother, her wisdom, understanding her son and knowing how to treat him? Her grief?
6. Adam, a young man of 15, feeling unloved, doing the chores, resenting his father? His attraction towards the neighbour, walking out with her, the sexual attraction, the kiss? Her moral stance, talk about God? The clashes with his father, overhearing his father and mother speak in the night? The reconciliation with his father? His decision to sign up, telling the neighbour, feeling as if her were a man? On the green, the shots, his fear, his father's death, running and hiding? The girl protecting him? Talking with Joseph, going to fight, involved in the ambushes, shooting the young soldier, shooting the soldiers? His wanting to go home? With his mother and grandmother? His having to face the war and go to fight the war of revolution? The new generation of Americans?
7. Joseph and the men of the town, the minister and his leadership, the quoting from the bible, principles of peace? Defence against the British? The British treating the locals like slaves? Political issues, the meetings, the signing of the men, taking the stand, the fight? Joseph and his involvement? The minister and his fighting?
8. The presentation of the British, the disciplined army, the massing of numbers, marching to Concorde, the rules of military war fare, taking stands? The advantage of the Americans in snipping and ambush? The shooting on the green? The commanders? The experience of the ambush? The beginning of the war?
9. A story of 1775 and the audience responding to knowledge to these events and the consequences?