In this D. W. Griffith-directed historical drama boasting an all-star cast, the hero is a dispatch runner for the American Revolutionary army. Assigned to deliver an important message, the boy is hotly pursued by the Hessians. He hides out in his father's home, burying himself in a laundry hamper. Alas, one of the Hessians fires his rifle directly into the hamper, killing the boy instantly. Swearing revenge, the father does a "Paul Revere," summoning the local villagers to rise up and crush the Hessian renegades like so many bugs. Some synopses of this stirring melodrama have suggested that the heroine (Mary Pickford) sacrifices her own life to save the hero, but the existing film does not bear this out. 1776 was shot on location in the Upstate New York village of Cuddebackville; to avoid the more "modern" aspects of the landscape, Griffith and his cameraman Billy Bitzer were forced to film most of the picture in medium shots (leading to the apocryphal yarn wherein moviegoers complained that they couldn't see the actors' feet).
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