Watched an American Civil War film recently, and my comments were, to say the least, unfavourable! Howver, all is not lost, because I can report that having purchased and watched the sequel, Gettysburg, I was rewarded with an engrossing, spectacular and historically-factual account of the pivotal battle of that tragic campaign.
As far as I am aware, the film Gettysburg was made for television, and did not have a general film release, but may be wrong on that point. If it was not released, the film audience were denied a look into the very minds of the men behind the decisions which set the antagonists’ course towards the final defeat and victory.
We were told that religious belief played a great part behind the movements and actions of the great Southern strategist, but those beliefs were not hammered into our skulls, as within ‘Gods and Generals’! More emphasis was placed on how they reacted to events, and the reasons behind those reactions, gave Gettysburg a ring of truth which of course was born within the fantastic ‘Killer Angels’, the novel upon which the film was based!
The leading characters were pared right back in numbers, but the result, which targeted the Southern leaders General Robert E. Lee, General James Longstreet and from the North, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain of the 20th Maine Infantry was gratifying to say the least! The true pathos of the War was brought out in the short scenes with General Lew Armistead lamenting the fact he might have to fight his long-term friend General Hancock of the Northern Army.
The sweep of the movie was grand in design and execution, as could be read by the large number of Re’Enactment’ volunteers used during the filming of the final suicidal battle scenes of ‘Pickett’s Charge’ across an open mile against the Union defences.
Gettysburg is worthy of the Five Pounds charged by Amazon for sale of this superb DVD, and it was, in retrospect, the best value I have received for sheer entertainment in a very long time!