John Adams Mini Series on HBO HD - starts 03/16/08 - Page 4 - AVS Forum

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gwsat's Avatar gwsat
11:42 AM Liked: 574
post #91 of 302
03-18-2008 | Posts: 14,849
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Originally Posted by redjr View Post

Yeah... It [David Milch's John From Cincinnati did have a way of sucking you in to the bizarre, to a sub-cultural so different then many of us are ever exposed to. I found I was so intrigued I just kept watching.

I confess that I am a hopeless David Milch fanboy. Although I completely understood HBO's decision not to renew John From Cincinnati, I, too, would have gladly watched a second season. Milch's stuff has a way of combining sweetness and cynicism that I find unfailingly appealing. Better yet, he is literate, God is he literate! Much of Deadwood is pure poetry, its incredible profanity notwithstanding. There's nobody like Milch; I wish he would do more.
jason10mm's Avatar jason10mm
12:31 PM Liked: 11
post #92 of 302
03-18-2008 | Posts: 809
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I dunno, while I loved Deadwood, I felt that much of the dialogue was overly-pretensious and dragged down the show. Mainly because so many of the actors struggled with it and their delivery was stilted and physical performances were wooden. While Swearingen was fantastic and some actors did well, Olyphant, the guy playing the mayor/hotel operator, and Powers Boothe seemed very wooden when I know they can be more lively.

Deadwood also died on the fact that had too many characters doing nothing for no good reason and didn't seem to be going anywhere. After Wild Bill died there was little sense the town was headed anywhere. I thought Rome was much better paced, both seasons had definite goals, and more of the actors did better jobs.
archiguy's Avatar archiguy
12:41 PM Liked: 786
post #93 of 302
03-18-2008 | Posts: 18,478
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Originally Posted by jason10mm View Post

Deadwood also died on the fact that had too many characters doing nothing for no good reason and didn't seem to be going anywhere. After Wild Bill died there was little sense the town was headed anywhere. I thought Rome was much better paced, both seasons had definite goals, and more of the actors did better jobs.

'Deadwood' the series was intended to mirror the 4-year lifespan of Deadwood the town. In that respect, I think it was successful. The last season we saw was all about George Herst's attempt to come in and take over, mirroring what happened in real life. The final season was supposed to be about the great fire that destroyed the town. And we'll never get to see it. So to say the story wasn't heading anywhere is a bit disingenuous, IMO.
gwsat's Avatar gwsat
02:27 PM Liked: 574
post #94 of 302
03-18-2008 | Posts: 14,849
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jason10mm View Post

I dunno, while I loved Deadwood, I felt that much of the dialogue was overly-pretensious and dragged down the show. Mainly because so many of the actors struggled with it and their delivery was stilted and physical performances were wooden. While Swearingen was fantastic and some actors did well, Olyphant, the guy playing the mayor/hotel operator, and Powers Boothe seemed very wooden when I know they can be more lively.

Deadwood also died on the fact that had too many characters doing nothing for no good reason and didn't seem to be going anywhere. After Wild Bill died there was little sense the town was headed anywhere. I thought Rome was much better paced, both seasons had definite goals, and more of the actors did better jobs.

I didn't like Olyphant as the sheriff much, either, at least for the first couple of seasons. I thought he grew into the job, though, and was just fine in Season Three. I believe that William Sanderson, as E.B. Farnum, and Powers Boothe, as the slimy Cy Tolliver, were great, though.

I'll never forget Powers Boothe's performance in the episode where he nearly beats to death the young whore (Kirsten Bell) who stabbed him while she was trying to escape with Joanie's jewelry and then makes Joanie kill her with a Derringer. Boothe convincingly showed a combination of surface charm and underlying craziness that was riveting. That was television at its best.
Bluto17's Avatar Bluto17
05:51 AM Liked: 19
post #95 of 302
03-19-2008 | Posts: 832
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Man, I really enjoyed Olyphant's performance. Playing Bullock as a stoic with a churning pool of underlying emotions worked for me.
clapple's Avatar clapple
08:02 AM Liked: 11
post #96 of 302
03-19-2008 | Posts: 390
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I watched the first half hour of this fiction. That was enough for me! John Adams did not live in a house close to the State House or witness the "Boston Massacre". The book was great. This fiction sucks!
gwsat's Avatar gwsat
08:28 AM Liked: 574
post #97 of 302
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Originally Posted by clapple View Post

I watched the first half hour of this fiction. That was enough for me! John Adams did not live in a house close to the State House or witness the "Boston Massacre". The book was great. This fiction sucks!

If you can’t accept that some of the facts get twisted to serve the story in any drama based on history, you should probably avoid them. Every historical drama ever made that I can recall has done that and, I suggest, every one of them made in the future will do the same.
gruven42's Avatar gruven42
09:48 AM Liked: 11
post #98 of 302
03-19-2008 | Posts: 497
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clapple View Post

John Adams did not live in a house close to the State House or witness the "Boston Massacre".

Welcome to television!
redjr's Avatar redjr
11:39 AM Liked: 41
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03-19-2008 | Posts: 1,829
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Originally Posted by gruven42 View Post

Welcome to television!

Or, over-reaching creative license.
JHouse's Avatar JHouse
03:49 PM Liked: 14
post #100 of 302
03-19-2008 | Posts: 4,323
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph View Post

I appreciated the depiction of the fear and risk that the men took as they considered and ultimately adopted the decision to declare independence. The decision was literally life and death for them, and the bravery they demonstrated was moving to me.

My 8th grade history teacher made a big point of how it was the guys with all the connections and the money, i.e. those who had the most to risk, that were surprisingly behind this. He told us about the death warrant for rebels and organizers, and that must have been scary as heck. The only thing we had going for us was the huge distance/supply line/cost.
philw1776's Avatar philw1776
04:45 PM Liked: 85
post #101 of 302
03-19-2008 | Posts: 1,421
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Originally Posted by ddingle View Post

The play (1776) described the southern colonies as being extremely obstinate about joining the union until they were allowed to keep slavery as is. Adams and Jefferson refused again and again as they wanted to eliminate slavery altogether. Finally they caved and the south signed on.

I prefer historical accuracy myself. I will continue to enjoy the rest of the series however.

Those preferring historical accuracy might note that Thomas Jefferson kept his slaves well after that time period. Biographers of TJ note his recurring ability to advocate opposing sides of the same issue.
philw1776's Avatar philw1776
04:48 PM Liked: 85
post #102 of 302
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHouse View Post

My 8th grade history teacher made a big point of how it was the guys with all the connections and the money, i.e. those who had the most to risk, that were surprisingly behind this. He told us about the death warrant for rebels and organizers, and that must have been scary as heck. The only thing we had going for us was the huge distance/supply line/cost.

No question that these Founding Fathers KNEW that they'd be hanged (at best) were the revolution to fail. I cannot think of modern political figures so committed to this country that they would put their lives and, and even worse fortunes , in such real jeapordy.
allargon's Avatar allargon
05:34 PM Liked: 13
post #103 of 302
03-19-2008 | Posts: 3,336
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I love the handheld camera stuff. It is up close and gritty just like the thirteen colonies were back then. I don't want far away and stationary, pristine views of everything.

The off angle gives a different artistic perspective. I say, "More!"

Minor spoiler:

Cheesy, but I got a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when they read "The Declaration of Independence" in Episode 2. People were so willing to sacrifice everything for basic rights back then and expected no infringement from government as long as they were white men that owned property.

***********SOAPBOX************
Nowadays, people won't even sacrifice their gas guzzling SUV's.
*******************************
Robert Clark's Avatar Robert Clark
08:44 PM Liked: 33
post #104 of 302
03-19-2008 | Posts: 4,224
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HATING the low-rent Paul Greengrass shaky cam direction.

I was really looking forward to this miniseries and it does not disappoint, other than the mediocre direction...

BTW, the CGI in this series is top drawer, better that many feature films in fact, and really gives a great feeling for the times.
gwsat's Avatar gwsat
09:00 PM Liked: 574
post #105 of 302
03-19-2008 | Posts: 14,849
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHouse View Post

My 8th grade history teacher made a big point of how it was the guys with all the connections and the money, i.e. those who had the most to risk, that were surprisingly behind this. He told us about the death warrant for rebels and organizers, and that must have been scary as heck. The only thing we had going for us was the huge distance/supply line/cost.

Yes, the Founding Fathers risked everything, including their very lives. That is why Franklin was deadly serious when he famously said to the other Founders, "We must all hang together, gentlemen...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately."
redjr's Avatar redjr
09:34 PM Liked: 41
post #106 of 302
03-19-2008 | Posts: 1,829
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I have not read the book, so I'm hoping for some honest and factual enlightenment during this miniseries. It seems this period of our history(perhaps all periods of our history) are always opened to revisionists thinking of modern times. After watching the first 2 episodes last Sunday night, I couldn't help but think of the inner turmoil some of them must have agonized over with the slavery issue.

How could they - in their infinite wisdom - fight for their own independence against the tyranny of England, willing to sacrifice everything they owned, no doubt their families too, and their very own lives, for the freedom of self-governance without the burdens imposed by a king, while at the very same time agree not to include(indeed fight for with equal passion) the freedom of the slaves. This has got to be one of the greatest dichotomies of all times. While our FF no doubt started this country on its road to freedom, it was largely and wholly built on the blood, sweat and tears of slave labor. How free were they?

Perhaps their mantra should have been..."We are not free, until we all are free".

I'm sorry if this is wondering off into the political realm. How could it not given the topic. Anyway, I look forward to the series.
foxeng's Avatar foxeng
06:12 AM Liked: 40
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03-20-2008 | Posts: 14,042
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The problem was, and still is today, any time you create by committee compromises are made to get the thing done. The Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution are all compromise documents.

By the time of the Revolution, the north's need for slave labor was greatly reduced and most northerners thought the days of slavery, for them were over. The southerns on the other hand didn't have the population of the "larger" areas like Boston, New York, Philadelphia. Had much larger farms and longer growing season than their northern counterparts. Didn't have manufacturing, only agriculture; needed lots of manual labor to do it and didn't have the population. One of the many reasons the southern states lost the Civil War.

To them, slavery was needed to make a living, a point that was brought home post Civil War during the Carpet Bagger era where people either starved or started the now classic family farm or moved to larger areas either creating the large cities of the south or moving north for work since they could no longer afford the large plantations of the past. Think post Civil War in "Gone with the Wind."

Anytime you have social issues this diverse you will have a hard time getting everything you want anyway. Compromise is the only way. So slavery was past on to another generation to deal with, much to the shagrin of people like Adams who wanted the new nation to be "pure" without slavery and to a much lesser extent, Jefferson and Washington who knew what it took to run a southern plantation in those days but went along with slavery for the good of their state and to a lesser extent, the nation. Pre Civil War it was all about states rights and a weak Federal government and "these" United States, not the now more familiar "the" United States. There is a difference. In a nutshell, as the historian Shelby Foot put it, the Civil War took us from a "these" to a "the" and finished the business of creating the nation. Just about all of the internal left over issues from the Revolution were solved by the end of the Civil War, one way or another and mostly by war.
allargon's Avatar allargon
06:51 AM Liked: 13
post #108 of 302
03-20-2008 | Posts: 3,336
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

To them, slavery was needed to make a living, a point that was brought home post Civil War during the Carpet Bagger era where people either starved or started the now classic family farm or moved to larger areas either creating the large cities of the south or moving north for work since they could no longer afford the large plantations of the past. Think post Civil War in "Gone with the Wind."

I have to nitpick this family farm thing. Slavery killed the family farm in the American South the way it killed the family farm in greater Italy during the Roman Empire. Small farms can't compete with the economies of scale of large scale planters. That was true 2k years ago. It was true 200 years ago. It's true now. The small farmers moved out west to the Ohio territories, Nebraska, Kansas, etc.

Back on topic...the handheld camera thing is relatively new in cinema from what I've seen. IMHO, it's an evolutionary thing in filmmaking from the slow moving pans done with big film cameras. My non-72/120 Hz HDTV loves the handicam--less judder!
gwsat's Avatar gwsat
07:33 AM Liked: 574
post #109 of 302
03-20-2008 | Posts: 14,849
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redjr View Post

I have not read the book, so I'm hoping for some honest and factual enlightenment during this miniseries. It seems this period of our history(perhaps all periods of our history) are always opened to revisionists thinking of modern times. After watching the first 2 episodes last Sunday night, I couldn't help but think of the inner turmoil some of them must have agonized over with the slavery issue.

How could they - in their infinite wisdom - fight for their own independence against the tyranny of England, willing to sacrifice everything they owned, no doubt their families too, and their very own lives, for the freedom of self-governance without the burdens imposed by a king, while at the very same time agree not to include(indeed fight for with equal passion) the freedom of the slaves. This has got to be one of the greatest dichotomies of all times. While our FF no doubt started this country on its road to freedom, it was largely and wholly built on the blood, sweat and tears of slave labor. How free were they?

Perhaps their mantra should have been..."We are not free, until we all are free".

I'm sorry if this is wondering off into the political realm. How could it not given the topic. Anyway, I look forward to the series.

Slavery was the American curse and led to our national nightmare, the Civil War. The Founding Fathers who opposed slavery recognized the dangers of slavery but they had to face the stark reality that without slavery there would be no United States. The Southern colonies had slave based economies, which they could not afford to abandon. Thus, slavery persisted in the United States.

It’s a mistake, it seems to me, to look at the 18th Century decision of the Founders to allow slavery through the prism of 21st Century social consciousness. One of our dirty little secrets is that virtually all Americans were racists in those years and for many years thereafter. That’s too bad but there it is.

It’s also well to remember that the central issue of our Civil War, at least at first, was whether the Union would be preserved or would be dissolved, not slavery. That’s because few Americans cared a fig about the plight of the black man. The concern about slavery of the anti slavery Founders was based almost entirely on the fear that the instabilities its preservation would create in the new nation might destroy it, not on slavery’s inherent immorality. I can’t imagine that the Founders weren’t made uncomfortable by the moral issues created by “The Peculiar Institution” but I am certain that this moral quandary worried them far less than did the other problems, which the preservation of slavery created.
redjr's Avatar redjr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

Slavery was the American curse and led to our national nightmare, the Civil War. The Founding Fathers who opposed slavery recognized the dangers of slavery but they had to face the stark reality that without slavery there would be no United States. The Southern colonies had slave based economies, which they could not afford to abandon. Thus, slavery persisted in the United States.

It's a mistake, it seems to me, to look at the 18th Century decision of the Founders to allow slavery through the prism of 21st Century social consciousness. One of our dirty little secrets is that virtually all Americans were racists in those years and for many years thereafter. That's too bad but there it is.

It's also well to remember that the central issue of our Civil War, at least at first, was whether the Union would be preserved or would be dissolved, not slavery. That's because few Americans cared a fig about the plight of the black man. The concern about slavery of the anti slavery Founders was based almost entirely on the fear that the instabilities its preservation would create in the new nation might destroy it, not on slavery's inherent immorality. I can't imagine that the Founders weren't made uncomfortable by the moral issues created by The Peculiar Institution but I am certain that this moral quandary worried them far less than did the other problems, which the preservation of slavery created.

I don't want to belabor this as I said in my edit that volumes have been written on the subject.... but, to put it simply, I believe we can honestly say that,

"The needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few..." and "Out of evil, comes good."

I recognize that taking the moral high-ground whether today, or 240 years ago is difficult. Not impossible, just difficult. My problem is that these men - many having a strong faith-based moral compass - still could not make the 'correct' moral decision about total freedom for everyone, economy based culture notwithstanding. While they knew the price would be high if they failed, they were still more concerned about their OWN freedom than that of lessor men, women and children of color.

I wonder today who among us would throw out our lessor citizens to save a sinking lifeboat instead of jumping over ourselves?
foxeng's Avatar foxeng
10:05 AM Liked: 40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redjr View Post

I recognize that taking the moral high-ground whether today, or 240 years ago is difficult. Not impossible, just difficult. My problem is that these men - many having a strong faith-based moral compass - still could not make the 'correct' moral decision about total freedom for everyone, economy based culture notwithstanding. While they knew the price would be high if they failed, they were still more concerned about their OWN freedom than that of lessor men, women and children of color.

I wonder today who among us would throw out our lessor citizens to save a sinking lifeboat instead of jumping over ourselves?

All seen through the eyes of a 21st Century person.

No matter how wrong we may see something now, 240 years ago, it was not seen in the same light and 240 years in the future, what we see as right may be seen as wrong to them. That doesn't make it right, but it also doesn't make it wrong. It just depends on your time reference. 21st Century, bad. 18th Century, tolerable.

And this is how history works.
foxeng's Avatar foxeng
10:08 AM Liked: 40
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Originally Posted by allargon View Post

I have to nitpick this family farm thing. Slavery killed the family farm in the American South the way it killed the family farm in greater Italy during the Roman Empire. Small farms can't compete with the economies of scale of large scale planters. That was true 2k years ago. It was true 200 years ago. It's true now. The small farmers moved out west to the Ohio territories, Nebraska, Kansas, etc.

Through the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, family farms is EXACTLY where most Americans got their food, if they themselves didn't grow it. The "supermarket" as we know it, didn't really come around until after 1945 to the masses.
gwsat's Avatar gwsat
10:36 AM Liked: 574
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Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

All seen through the eyes of a 21st Century person.

No matter how wrong we may see something now, 240 years ago, it was not seen in the same light and 240 years in the future, what we see as right may be seen as wrong to them. That doesn't make it right, but it also doesn't make it wrong. It just depends on your time reference. 21st Century, bad. 18th Century, tolerable.

And this is how history works.

That's right. Further, the Founders were faced with a stark choice: create a Union with slavery or face fighting the British without a Union. In reality, there was no choice, the Founders did what they had to do. Franklin had it right, if they didn't hang together they would most assuredly hang separately.
redjr's Avatar redjr
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Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

That's right. Further, the Founders were faced with a stark choice: create a Union with slavery or face fighting the British without a Union. In reality, there was no choice, the Founders did what they had to do. Franklin had it right, if they didn't hang together they would most assuredly hang separately.

What do we do today then. How should their decisions shape our thinking today? Do we continue to enjoy the low cost products at Wal Mart at the expense of slave labor in China or Indonesia? Do we continue to drive our gas guzzling SUVs when we know that some of our oil money keeps women oppressed and terrorists funded? But, that's not our country or culture you ask. I know there are no easy answers, but it's hard for me to excuse it because that's the way it was done back then, or that's the way history works. I'm reminded of the phrase, "If we don't study, understand and learn from our past, we are doomed to repeat it." Our country has a shameful past of not always doing the right thing - especially when it comes to human dignity, unalienable rights and treating people in an equal manner. And you don't have to go back 240 years to see it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a bleeding-heart liberal, but I do believe we are too often driven - not by our need for immediate survival, but what is expedient and in MY immediate best/self interest.
gwsat's Avatar gwsat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redjr View Post

What do we do today then. How should their decisions shape our thinking today? Do we continue to enjoy the low cost products at Wal Mart at the expense of slave labor in China or Indonesia?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a bleeding-heart liberal, but I do believe we are too often driven - not by our need for immediate survival, but what is expedient and in MY immediate best/self interest.

I agree with your assessment but the Founding Fathers decision to accept slavery didn't involve mere economics, it involved life or death. If the Revolution failed, they died. If they did not present a untied front, which only the acceptance of slavery could provide, it would have failed and they would have died. End of story.
LL3HD's Avatar LL3HD
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Originally Posted by redjr View Post

I don't want to belabor this

Then don't. Please-- don't.
redjr's Avatar redjr
11:38 AM Liked: 41
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Originally Posted by LL3HD View Post

Then don't. Please-- don't.

It's ended.
David F's Avatar David F
11:40 AM Liked: 25
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I've only seen part one so far -- I'm going to watch part two tonight -- but I love it. The acting, writing, direction (the shaky-cam doesn't bother me at all, and lends a documentary feel, which I think is the point), truly flawless CG effects, and, most importantly for me, the sense these people had that their world was about to irrevocably change, and how bravely they faced that change. That they were standing on a truly pivotal moment in human history, and had no idea what the outcome would be.
gwsat's Avatar gwsat
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post #119 of 302
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Originally Posted by David F View Post

I've only seen part one so far -- I'm going to watch part two tonight -- but I love it. The acting, writing, direction (the shaky-cam doesn't bother me at all, and lends a documentary feel, which I think is the point), truly flawless CG effects, and, most importantly for me, the sense these people had that their world was about to irrevocably change, and how bravely they faced that change. That they were standing on a truly pivotal moment in human history, and had no idea what the outcome would be.

I thought that Part 2 was even better than Part 1. Giamatti, as Adams, is wonderful. It's not every actor who can breathe life into the somewhat stilted 18th Century lines that prevail in this series but in Giamatti's capable hands they are pure pleasure.
lwien's Avatar lwien
11:55 AM Liked: 10
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[quote=tonycsmoke;13402801

Another thing - I never really got the meaning of being "Tar and Feathered" until I realized that they use hot tar. That was pretty barbaric.[/QUOTE]

Pretty hard to cover someone with cold tar, eh?

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