Arts & Entertainment

Tea Party Premiers in Monrovia: Its a darned good yarn

By Susan Motander
The regular Sunday afternoon crowd at the Krikorian Premier Theatre was confused last Sunday afternoon. As they wandered into the theaters clutching their tickets to various current release movies, wearing the normal Sunday afternoon garb of shorts, Hawaiian shirts, sandals and the like, they passed through an unusual crowd.
The theater was filled with well dressed mover goers. The ladies were almost all in skirts or dresses, the men garbed in suits and ties with a few tuxedos appearing here and there. The occasion was the premier of a movie developed by supporters of the Tea Party movement.
The movie, Courage, New Hampshire, is set in that New England colony in 1770 and focusses on the trial of a British trooper accused of seducing a local girl the year before. The liaison resulted in the birth of a bastard daughter whom the mother, Sarah Pine refuses to identify. She continues to defend Sgt. Bob Wheedle, the British soldier, maintaining that he had returned to the small town to marry her.
The central character is the local tavern owner, Silas Rhodes, who also happens to be the the local Justice of the Peace. Silas is portrayed by James Patrick Riley, the show’s writer and director who presides over the ensuing trial.
Complicating the issue is the interest of the colony’s British appointed governor who sends an attorney to defend Wheedle. The attorney is somewhat unscrupulous in his dissent and vitriolic in his questioning of Sarah Pine.
The trial’s outcome is also influenced by pressure brought to bear on two of the three judges by the governor’s office. The local justice, Rhodes, comes under pressure himself from the locals whom he assumes may take matters into their own hands depending upon the outcome of the trial.
Without giving away the denouement, suffice it to say, after the dramatic conclusion the town learns of an incident which occurred shortly before in Boston. British troops has fired upon a crowd of Colonists killing five, an event we know as the Boston Massacre.
Several of the scenes in the movie are quite well done. The opening sequence which occurs the year before, features a realist tavern scene in which the locals arrest several British soldiers. The patrol was dressed in civilian clothes and claimed they were attempting to apprehend deserts. They are not believed and the local citizens inadvertently identify the soldiers as kidnappers and unwittingly allow the deserts to escape.
The arrest of the soldiers leads to the incarceration of the soldiers and leads to the meeting between Sarah and Wheedle. The result is the child she bears later.
The dramatic tavern scene is dimly but appropriately lit as are the courtroom scenes later in the film. The trial is depicted as occurring in a cramped equally dimly lit tavern room decorated with what appears to be time period appropriate fittings. The feels in both scenes works well.
It is not that the movie is without certain historical inaccuracies. The dialog is not time appropriate and there is an amazing lack of the usual British accents: North Umbrian, Scottish, etc. However this does make the plot easier to follow.
In all, the movie is fascinating, fast paced and gripping. In all, the movie is over all a darned good yarn.

June 30, 2011

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