Jefferson in Paris (film)

Jefferson in Paris (film) Historical drama about Thomas Jefferson’s five years, 1784 to 1789, in romantic, politically-charged, prerevolutionary Paris, where he was originally appointed by the Continental Congress to assist Benjamin Franklin as minister to the court of King Louis XVI but later took over the post when Franklin returned to America. While in Paris, Jefferson, who has recently lost his wife, enters into a love affair with a beautiful Anglo-Italian painter and musician, Maria Cosway, giving him the experience of an attachment, in the European manner to a highly sophisticated woman having advanced ideas about love and marriage. When Jefferson’s daughter, Polly, arrives in Paris, accompanied by her nurse, Sally Hemings, he finds himself attracted to the slave girl. When Jefferson decides to return home, he offers Sally and her brother their freedom if they will join him—Sally is already pregnant with his child—and they consent. Released on March 31, 1995, in New York and Los Angeles; general release on April 7, 1995. Directed by James Ivory. 142 min. A Touchstone Picture. Stars Nick Nolte (Thomas Jefferson), Greta Scacchi (Maria Cosway), Lambert Wilson (Lafayette), Simon Callow (Richard Cosway), Seth Gilliam (James Hemings), James Earl Jones (Madison Hemings), Thandie Newton (Sally Hemings), Estelle Eonnet (Polly). The movie was produced by the prestigious Merchant-Ivory filmmaking team and was filmed on location in France, garnering special permission to shoot at Versailles, at the Chateau of Chantilly, and at many other historic sites in the country. Released on video in 1995.