Daily Archives: 20 May 2011

Gotta Talk About that Gettysburg Movie…

Since everyone else has posted a bit about the Ridley Scott Gettysburg movie, scheduled to air this Memorial Day, I guess it is my turn!

I mentioned this project several months back when History (a.k.a. History Channel) first announced the schedule.  Since that time, the TV channel has added their Lee & Grant documentary, to premier on May 31.   I’ll cite the premise and scope of the Gettysburg movie as posted to History’s web site:

It’s the summer of 1863, more than two years into our nation’s devastating Civil War, and the stakes have never been higher. The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, led by Robert E. Lee, crosses into Pennsylvania. Trailed by the Union’s Army of the Potomac, Lee’s 75,000-strong army heads toward Harrisburg, but the forces meet instead near Gettysburg, a quiet farm town that would become synonymous with the epic battle that all but decided the outcome of the American Civil War. For three long days, the two sides clashed in one of the war’s bloodiest engagements to decide the ultimate question: Would the United States of America survive?

Executive produced by Ridley and Tony Scott, GETTYSBURG strips away the romanticized veneer of the Civil War to present the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg in a new light–a visceral, terrifying and deeply personal experience, fought by men who put everything on the line in defense of their vision of the American future. Cinematic in scope, GETTYSBURG is an information-packed look at the turning points, strategic decisions, technology and little-known facts surrounding the battle. Developed in collaboration with highly esteemed Civil War historians, GETTYSBURG reflects hundreds of individual accounts of the battle–the unique voices of struggle, defeat and triumph that tell the larger story of a bitterly conflicted nation.

In February I mentioned the pleasing return of History to… well… history topics.  And of course, I still question the topic choice.  I gather nobody outside of you Civil War blog readers realize there was more than one battle in the Civil War.  And I don’t want to be a spoiler… but Lee and the Confederates lose this one.

Guess I should post the trailer so everyone gets another chance to count the stitches.

I can perhaps overlook the uniform issues.  I do hope the full movie will have plenty of artillery scenes for me to talk about.  Perhaps from a visual perspective, I don’t like the “modern” looking movements used by the characters.  And I’m always concerned about productions that promise to “bring the horrors of war” to the viewer.  They often focus strictly on the blood and gore -  and little on the psychological and sociological components which are, in my opinion, where the discussion about the horrors of war should be.

The movie promises to pack a lot of information and emotion into two hours.  I do hope it succeeds in that regard.  Such are the “first contacts” that introduce many Civil War enthusiasts to the subject.

Of note, I can’t find much on the Lee & Grant documentary that premiers on May 31.  Just a short blurb noting the cooperation of Winston Groom in the production.  Apparently the two hour spot will discuss the ups and downs experienced by the two generals on battlefields far apart, in July 1863.  Yea, you know that other ‘burg battle!