Johnny Tremain (film)
|Directed by||Robert Stevenson|
|Produced by||Walt Disney|
|Written by||Esther Forbes
|Music by||George Bruns
Tom Blackburn (lyrics)
|Cinematography||Charles P. Boyle|
|Editing by||Stanley E. Johnson|
|Studio||Walt Disney Productions|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|Release dates||June 19, 1957|
|Running time||80 minutes|
Johnny Tremain is a 1957 film made by Walt Disney Productions, based on the 1944 Newbery Medal-winning children's novel of the same name by Esther Forbes, retelling the story of the years in Boston, Massachusetts prior to the outbreak of the American Revolution. The movie was directed by Robert Stevenson. It was made for television, then ultimately released to theatres, and finally wound up on television a year after that, on the Walt Disney anthology television series. It was shown on television in two episodes rather than as a complete film on a single evening. The song "Liberty Tree", with music by George Bruns and Lyrics by Tom Blackburn, became familiar, when the song was placed on the Disney Record album entitled "Happy Birthday and Other Holiday songs".
The movie starts with Johnny Tremain as an apprentice for a silversmith, Mr. Lapham. One day, wealthy Jonathan Lyte asks Mr. Lapham to fix a broken tea cup. He refuses because he believes he is too old for such jobs. However, Tremain believes he is skilled enough to do the job. After trying again and again (while failing miserably every time) he finally decides to ask fellow silversmith, Paul Revere for help on the design of the new handle. He replies and tells him to make the handle deeper and larger. Later on, he confides a secret with Pricilla Lapham, Mr. Lapham's daughter. Tremain tells her that he is secretly related to wealthy Lyte. He has a christening cup with the Lyte family crest on it, proving his point. Eager to try the new design, he breaks the Sabbath and accidentally burns his hand. He realizes he will no longer be able to really use that hand so he can no longer be a silversmith apprentice. He tries to find a job but no one will hire him with only one of his hands working properly. He soon is brought to the Sons of Liberty and is a messenger for them, secretly telling members when the meetings are. Still desperate for money, he confides to Lyte that he is related to him. He shows him the christening cup and Lyte files charges against Tremain, accusing him of theft. Josiah Quincy defends him in court and proves that he did not steal it by bringing in Priscilla (whom he confided to earlier) as a witness. Afterwards, Tremain and the Sons of Liberty participate in the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's Midnight Ride, and The Shot heard 'round the world at Lexington and Concord. During the Boston Tea Party, Dr. Joseph Warren says that he will be able to fix Tremain's hand, allowing it to be used to its full potential once more.
- Hal Stalmaster as Johnny Tremain
- Luana Patten as Priscilla Lapham
- Jeff York as James Otis
- Sebastian Cabot as Jonathan Lyte
- Richard Beymer as Rab Silsbee
- Walter Sande as Paul Revere
- Whit Bissell as Josiah Quincy
- Rusty Lane as Samuel Adams
- Walter Coy as Dr. Joseph Warren
- Will Wright as Mr. Lapham
- Virginia Christine as Mrs. Lapham
- Ralph Clanton as General Gage
- Geoffrey Toone as Major Pitcairn
- Kukoyi Lockett
Portions of Johnny Tremain were used in 1968 for educational purposes. Two distant sequence of the films were issued under the titles of The Boston Tea Party and The Shot Heard ‘Round the World. Both were originally shown on Disney´s anthology TV series in 1958.
After the movie was released, Walt Disney intended to build Liberty Street in Disneyland as an annex to Main Street USA. However, the project never materialized. Years later after Walt's death, the concept was revived and turned into the much more expansive Liberty Square in Walt Disney World, which opened on October 1, 1971.
Furthermore, an elm tree found on the Disney property (originally 6 miles from where the Magic Kingdom is located) was moved and transplanted by Disney engineers and now serves as the square's Liberty Tree. Adorning it are 13 lanterns, representing the original 13 American colonies.
- Variety film review; May 1, 1957.
- Wonderful World of Disney Television by Bill Cotter Supplemental material
- Johnny Tremain at the Internet Movie Database
- D23: The Official Disney Fan Club: A Revolutionary Story