, , ,

John Adams died in the last scene, making this a tragedy I suppose, shortly after a comment he made when looking at the famous painting of the Declaration of Independence — that everyone else was dead except for him and Jefferson.

Declaration of Independence

John Adams, in the brown suit dead center, had not only outlived all of the other signers, but also outlived several of his children, and his wife of fifty four years. He and Jefferson died the same day on July 4th, exactly a half century after the Declaration was proclaimed as commemorated in this painting by John Trumbull. When viewing the painting John said that the actual events of that history was never anything like what was pictured as calm, and dignified, but rather that it was a continuous struggle of petty, bickering, self centered, and conniving children. He did live to see his son, John Quincy Adams, become the 6th President of the United States, but he implied to John Quincy that it was to be seen as a burden rather than an honor.

The whole series was ruined by the constant flopping about of the camera, and near the end they finally went all the way, and shot a scene upside down. The major actors were excellent, but many of the secondary ones were wooden, and seemed to be standing on their marks, and saying their lines while looking rather like mediocre soap opera characters in fantastically well done sets. The snow scenes were not very convincing however, because the snow just looked like freshly blown foam. That was too bad because some of the time the period work looked, and felt really good. The parts where John was walking through the orchards, and trellises felt just like home to me, when I was a child on an apple farm. The muddiness, and squalor when first arriving at Washington City was terribly overemphasized, and ruined the chaotic effect by making it look all too staged. No doubt there was turmoil during the construction, but the actual rooms where they were living would, without doubt, have been clean from the first. So why have them living in smoky filth for his entire presidency in Washington City. Was this name Washington De City used in the series as a spin off of the name which got contracted to what we know as Washington D. C.? I don’t know, but the way they used it seemed intentionally artificial.

Why, when a director is doing a period piece, does he go to so very much effort to get the technicalities of the period, such as clothing and buildings, so very perfect, and then not let us, the audience, settle into that period, and become comfortable there and enjoy the drama of the situation? Instead these silly directors have this compulsion to art it up with fuzzy shots, wobbly cameras, weird camera angles, and nauseating camera swings which lead to very jumpy images, and every other sort of amateurish nonsense they could come up with. I can’t complain enough, I get tedious even to myself.

John Adams was a great series in spite of the directors! All hail to John and Abigail — the actors as well as the people!