Friday, January 1, 2010

Friday's Favorite OTR

Favorite Story: "The Man Without a Country" 2/4/47

Edward Everett Hale's unrepentantly patriotic tale makes for an effective and emotional half-hour in this episode of Favorite Story. It's a wonderful, sad and ultimately uplifting story about a young army officer who, in 1807, was court-martialed for treason after getting involved with Aaron Burr's shenanigans. When he angrily curses his country during his trial, he is sentenced to spend the rest of his life on sea. No one may ever talk to him about the United States or give him any books, articles or information of any sort about the country. He is transfered from ship to ship so that he will never enter an American port.

The original story, by the way, is available as a free download HERE. It's well worth reading.

The young officer (Philip Nolan) is contemptuous of his sentence at first, but as time goes by, he realizes just how Draconian it is. He realizes he does indeed love the country he can no longer even talk about with anyone.

The Favorite Story adaptation is faithful to the original prose and just as heart-rending--especially in the emotional climax. As Nolan lies in his cabin dying after 56 years at sea, an old friend finally tells him the names of the new states, the president and whatever else he can think of--leaving out any mention of the Civil War. Nolan dies content that his country had continued to grow strong over the years.

John Beal is Nolan and William Conrad is the naval officer who befriends him. Both their acting and the script are top notch.

This episode is available for download HERE.

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