The Howards of Virginia (1940)

122 mins | Drama | 19 September 1940

Director:

Frank Lloyd

Writer:

Sidney Buchman

Producer:

Frank Lloyd

Cinematographer:

Bert Glennon

Editor:

Paul Weatherwax

Production Designer:

John Goodman
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Tree of Liberty . According to a news item in LAT , Joan Fontaine was originally slated for the role of "Jane Peyton," but a prolonged illness prevented her from taking the role. Columbia publicity material contained in the production files at the AMPAS Library add that the film was shot on location in Williamsburg, VA. The Williamsburg restoration began in 1927 and was primarily financed by John D. Rockefeller. Another item in HR adds that Columbia signed Frank Lloyd as producer-director as part of their strategy to line up as many producer-director names as possible, either to fill Frank Capra's position if he decided to leave the studio or to enhance Columbia's reputation and thus entice Capra to stay at the studio. The picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Sound ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Tree of Liberty . According to a news item in LAT , Joan Fontaine was originally slated for the role of "Jane Peyton," but a prolonged illness prevented her from taking the role. Columbia publicity material contained in the production files at the AMPAS Library add that the film was shot on location in Williamsburg, VA. The Williamsburg restoration began in 1927 and was primarily financed by John D. Rockefeller. Another item in HR adds that Columbia signed Frank Lloyd as producer-director as part of their strategy to line up as many producer-director names as possible, either to fill Frank Capra's position if he decided to leave the studio or to enhance Columbia's reputation and thus entice Capra to stay at the studio. The picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Sound Recording. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
3 Sep 40
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 39
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 40
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 40
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 40
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 40
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
13 Apr 1940.
---
Motion Picture Daily
29 Aug 40
pp. 1-5.
Motion Picture Herald
31 Aug 40
pp. 42, 52
New York Times
27 Sep 40
p. 27.
Variety
4 Sep 40
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst to dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
COSTUMES
Miss Scott's gowns
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Tree of Liberty by Elizabeth Page (New York, 1939).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Tree of Liberty
Release Date:
19 September 1940
Production Date:
began early April 1940
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
14 September 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9914
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
122
Length(in reels):
13
Country:
United States
PCA No:
6472
SYNOPSIS

In the mid-Eighteenth century, young Matt Howard, the son of a poor backwoods family, has the course of his life altered when he meets the youthful Tom Jefferson. Years later, Matt comes to Williamsburg as an unsophisticated surveyor and Tom arranges for him to work for the snobbish and aristocratic Peyton family. When the Peytons discover Matt's rustic origins, he is fired, but returns to woo and win Jane Peyton, who has hopes of refining Matt's untutored ways. To the horror of Jane's family, especially her brother Fleetwood, the couple are married and move to the wilderness of the Shenendoah Valley. From their backwoods cabin, a plantation and a family grow, but when Matt's first child, whom they name Peyton is born crippled, Matt is unable to accept the boy because his deformity reminds him of Fleetwood, who is also crippled. As Matt's popularity in the country grows, Tom encourages him to stand for election in the House of Burgess, and the newly elected representative from the back country becomes deeply enmeshed in politics. When hostilities erupt between the Colonies and Britain, Matt joins the army even though Jane begs him to remain with his family. Matt's decision, along with his neglect of Peyton, strikes the final blow to their marriage which became increasingly strained over the years. As Matt goes off to war, Jane takes her family and returns to Fleetwood's house, but after an argument with their Tory uncle, the boys leave to join their father in the revolutionary movement. When Peyton risks his own life for the sake of equality, Matt finally comes to understand and respect his son, ... +


In the mid-Eighteenth century, young Matt Howard, the son of a poor backwoods family, has the course of his life altered when he meets the youthful Tom Jefferson. Years later, Matt comes to Williamsburg as an unsophisticated surveyor and Tom arranges for him to work for the snobbish and aristocratic Peyton family. When the Peytons discover Matt's rustic origins, he is fired, but returns to woo and win Jane Peyton, who has hopes of refining Matt's untutored ways. To the horror of Jane's family, especially her brother Fleetwood, the couple are married and move to the wilderness of the Shenendoah Valley. From their backwoods cabin, a plantation and a family grow, but when Matt's first child, whom they name Peyton is born crippled, Matt is unable to accept the boy because his deformity reminds him of Fleetwood, who is also crippled. As Matt's popularity in the country grows, Tom encourages him to stand for election in the House of Burgess, and the newly elected representative from the back country becomes deeply enmeshed in politics. When hostilities erupt between the Colonies and Britain, Matt joins the army even though Jane begs him to remain with his family. Matt's decision, along with his neglect of Peyton, strikes the final blow to their marriage which became increasingly strained over the years. As Matt goes off to war, Jane takes her family and returns to Fleetwood's house, but after an argument with their Tory uncle, the boys leave to join their father in the revolutionary movement. When Peyton risks his own life for the sake of equality, Matt finally comes to understand and respect his son, and the Howard family is at last reconciled. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.