Independence: John Huston’s “Birthday Present” to America

“All films are created equal. I don’t think there is such a thing as a small film. We’re not pulling any punches here. Scene for scene, everything is being done to the best of our abilities. Each scene as we make it is the best scene I’ve ever made—in my imagination.” –John Huston, on Independence

Forty years ago, director John Huston and a team of Hollywood professionals rolled into Philadelphia to make a film at Independence Hall. Forty years later, the film still screens at Independence National Historical Park, with twelve shows a day.

How, you might ask, did a little government film draw stars like John Huston (The Maltese Falcon), and cinematographer Owen Roizman, (The Exorcist)? The answer is that it was never a “little” film in the sense that so many government productions were quickly out of date and replaced. The National Park Service commissioned the film as a centerpiece to its Bicentennial celebrations and intended that it would be in use at Independence National Historical Park for twenty years. NPS budgeted nearly $400,000 for the production, a fortune for a non-theatrical film, even if it would have been low-budget by 1975 Hollywood standards.

In a letter to Orson Welles, Huston called the project his “200th birthday present to the United States,” and he threw around a lot of weight in order to create the best possible product, including asking Welles to star as Benjamin Franklin, and bringing on board an Academy Award nominated cinematographer. Welles turned the role down, but Eli Wallach did not, telling a Philadelphia newspaper that working with John Huston again was “part of the lure, but that he also wanted to make the film because the Park Service planned to show it “for years and years”. Wallach said that he and his wife (who plays Abigail Adams) “turned down a lot to do it.”

Keep reading about the story behind Independence at  Happy July Fourth! John Huston’s “Birthday Present” to America | The Unwritten Record


Treat yo self to this famous face! She’s one of our favorite parts of Parks and Recreation as Donna but Retta was also spotted as a store clerk in a season four episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia!

Thanks for the submission, brbchrisevans!

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Through the Grass | Harbor Park | Philadelphia, PA

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Smart Bid, Not So Smart

Yeah he flopped in the Alphabet Soup. I woke up this morning feeling like I should have included Philly Ace in my write-up and Philly Ace won.

I see Well Spelled won the next race though over Trinniberg! I realize I picked almost half the field in that race but hey, I included Well Spelled. I knew it was a race that people needed to spread on.

I’m not betting though after all! I’m only watching and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The Cotillion is next…

*if you want to watch, click on this link for the live stream

In the blue
Of this life
Where it ends
In the night
When you couldn’t see
You would come for me

Wonder eyes
Motion high
And we don’t dare
Slip on by

Make us suffer
Like no other

Is nothing like lapis lazuli
Let it go back to me

Like no other
You can’t be replaced

- Beach House “Lazuli” 

Philadelphia Dilworth Park / Reflekted
June 19 2015
Ballpark Review: Nationals Park
Nationals Park is the aptly-named home field of the Washington Nationals. The $600 million park was completed and opened in 2008, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s one of the more modern facilities in the league. On June 7th, I attended a game against the Chicago Cubs, which resulted in a 6-3 loss for the home team. This article is a look at what an outsider learned about, and saw, during his visit to the capital’s very own baseball stadium.