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Author Topic: Gettysburg (1993)  (Read 5168 times)
titoli
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« on: March 04, 2011, 03:46:43 PM »

Much better than Gods and Generals because there are not those melodramatic scenes for the female audiences. The  attack on the left flank is breathtaking. Sheen's Lee is not worth Duvall's (actually I think is very weak) and Berenger just doesn't fit, with that beard. But Sam Elliott gives that narrative boost the following movie was lacking. 8\10

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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2011, 07:30:08 PM »

I think the movie's too long and not very cinematic, which makes sense since it started life as a TV production. The story does hold together better than Gods and Generals, though, even if there are a few bits that ought to be cut out. The Little Round Top battle is definitely one of the great battle scenes in film history. Solid cast; you mention Elliot but I think Richard Jordan steals the show.

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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2011, 02:22:47 AM »

The same guy (Ronald F. Maxwell) directed both movies, and Stephen Lang is in both of them.

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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2011, 12:15:33 PM »

Stephen Lang is in both of them.
Are you trying to steal my New Evil Twin Theory? Back away, DD!

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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2011, 04:16:42 PM »

Solid cast; you mention Elliot but I think Richard Jordan steals the show.

I don't think so, he just has that long monologue which, BTW, I don't think it fits him. Elliott brings to the movie the sob character who has no illusion about the High Command and act individualistically. I don't know if that was the real Buford, but it gives the narration that boost it generally lacks for sake of authenticity.

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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2011, 06:12:38 PM »

I should note, in the interest of full disclosure, that Gettysburg is a pretty faithful adaptation of the novel The Killer Angels. Gods and Generals, on the other hand, has little or nothing to do with the book it's ostensibly based on. This helps explain why one is good and the other isn't.

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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2011, 01:05:52 AM »

Are you trying to steal my New Evil Twin Theory? Back away, DD!

That's the second time Jinkies brings this up...

 can somebody explain this foolishness?

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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2011, 08:52:04 AM »

That's the second time Jinkies brings this up...

 can somebody explain this foolishness?

Angel Eyes and Mortimer are twins or something.

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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2011, 07:10:05 PM »

too long and not very cinematic

This.

If you don't care about historical accuracy, this really has nothing to offer.

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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2011, 06:11:18 AM »

Angel Eyes and Mortimer are twins or something.
So, you are leaving the door open for the Terminator idea, eh? Shrewd.

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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2011, 06:45:33 AM »

I could even give it a 9\10.

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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2011, 12:55:56 AM »

Angel Eyes and Mortimer are twins or something.


Oh, I see...
not worth getting into then.

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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2011, 04:35:31 PM »

If it's of interest to anyone:

http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/373965|0/The-Civil-War-Mondays-Wednesdays.html

Gettysburg's on April 25th at 10:15 pm, EST, right after Glory (perhaps the best Civil War battle film). Gods and Generals is conspicuously absent.

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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2011, 10:55:20 AM »

Rewatched this last night courtesy of TCM. Review:

Quote
Ron Maxwell's adaptation of Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels seems made to torment high school social studies students across America. Long, historically accurate to a fault (if you ignore certain bits of dramatic license), it's every lazy history teacher's dream - and every non-history student's nightmare.

Gettysburg is an admirable achievement, even if it's a dramatically mixed bag. Produced by Ted Turner at the height of his media empire, with a cast of thousands, it effectively captures the scope and fury of the Battle of Gettysburg despite a relatively modest budget. On the other hand, it's also talky, long-winded and just a bit pompous, with its filmmakers not quite grasping the finer points of page-to-screen adaptation. That's not to take away its virtue as a spectacle, or as a depiction of America's bloodiest and arguably most important battle.

July 1863. The Civil War has reached a critical point, as Confederate General Robert E. Lee (Martin Sheen) launches his second invasion of the North. With the Union Army of the Potomac, now under George Meade (Richard Anderson), scrambling to find Lee, the two sides collide near the crossroads town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Union officers take initiative - cavalryman John Buford (Sam Elliot) choosing to fight on "good ground," corps commander Winfield Scott Hancock (Brian Mallon) preparing a defensive line - while Lee's subordinates bumble and hesitate. After a successful first day, Lee orders an attack on the Union left, where Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels) and the 20th Maine regiment engages in a desperate stand on Little Round Top. Over the advice of his second-in-command James Longstreet (Tom Berenger), Lee orders George Pickett's (Stephen Lang) elite division to spearhead the third day's assault on the Union center, into the teeth of Hancock's crack II Corps.

Gettysburg is probably the closest modern equivalent to the old-school battle epics like The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far. Recent war films are largely variants on the old "unit picture," more interested in the privates on the ground than the verities of high command. There's something to be said for the battle epic, which allows for a true appreciation for a campaign's huge scope and tactical details. But it also has its flaws: too many underdeveloped characters, an obsession with tactics and battles that are impressive in size but mostly impersonal.

Maxwell faithfully (perhaps too faithfully) captures Shaara's depictions of men in high command. Everything that could go wrong for the Confederates pretty much does: Lee's cavalryman Jeb Stuart (Joseph Fuqua) engages in a pointless raid that leaves his army blind, corps commander Richard Ewell (Tim Scott) fails to seize a key position, and Lee himself seems overwhelmed by the situation. The Union commander, Meade, proves more competent than expected, and his cagey subordinates make the right decisions on their own initiative. Gettysburg is basically an exercise in hubris: believing his men "invincible," Lee ignores Longstreet's sound advice and orders a suicidal frontal assault with no chance of success.

Gettysburg has its share of quiet moments. Chamberlain, a former college professor, makes a wonderfully thoughtful protagonist, and his speeches and monologues, at least, are convincing. Irish Sergeant Kilrain (Kevin Conway) gets a nice scene explaining his philosophy to Chamberlain. A scene where Chamberlain's brother (C. Thomas Howell) chats candidly with Confederate prisoners has genuine poignance. The most affecting plot thread, however, involves Lewis Armistead (Richard Jordan), a Confederate brigadier who dreads the day he faces pre-war friend Hancock on the battlefield.

Despite these scenes, the movie has several major dramatic flaws. By focusing on the Confederate high command and comparatively low-ranking Union officers, Gettysburg fails to maintain dramatic balance, despite the film's admirably objective portrayal of the conflict. Maxwell further stumbles trying to capture Shaara's detailed internal monologues and narration. This leads to a lot of pompous soliloquies and clunky voiceovers that bog down the narrative. Lots of useless scenes - a discussion of Charles Darwin, Armistead's "Virginia" speech just before Pickett's Charge - could easily have been cut without hurting the film.

On a technical level, the film is mixed. The battles are truly impressive spectacle, with authentic Gettysburg locations and thousands of Civil War reenactors filling the screen, and Maxwell makes the battle's complicated tactics understandable to the lay viewer. But there's not much intensity to the fighting itself, a sterile, bloodless affair which often has the quality of a History Channel documentary. Audiences I've seen it with groaned at the extremely drawn-out depiction of Pickett's Charge. The exception is the Little Round Top scene, an intensely focused, twenty-minute long set-piece that ranks among the best battles in screen history. Another hindrance is Randy Edelman's obnoxious score: it's fine for the battle scenes but makes the soppy monologues even more unbearable.

Tom Berenger (Platoon), hiding behind a laughably fake beard, gives a nuanced and sensitive performance, torn between his doubts and his duty. Jeff Daniels has never been better, providing an intelligent, quietly intense turn. Less successful is Martin Sheen (O): he's all wrong physically, and his one-note portrayal of Lee as outwardly confident but privately worried isn't very interesting. Sam Elliot (Tombstone) gets a few nice scenes before bowing out early. Stephen Lang's (Avatar) flamboyant Pickett steals the show, and Richard Jordan (The Friends of Eddie Coyle) handles the big emotional scenes well.

The supporting cast has its moments, too. Kevin Conway's Irish accent is phony but he does a good job espousing Kilrain's cracker barrel wisdom. Brian Mallon makes a strong impression as Hancock, the Yankees' elite corps commander. William Morgan Shepherd gets an intense monologue as a Confederate officer disgusted with Lee's subordinates ("Give me one regiment and I'll take that hill!"). Familiar faces C. Thomas Howell (Red Dawn), Richard Anderson (Seven Days in May), Buck Taylor (Rough Riders) and John Diehl (Nixon) play Union soldiers. James Lancaster's (Leprechaun 2) caricature Englishman is irritating and Joseph Fuqua's Jeb Stuart wins the booby prize for worst facial hair in history. George Lazenby (On Her Majesty's Secret Service) has a tiny bit, and attentive viewers can spot Ted Turner and Ken Burns in cameos.

For all its flaws, Gettysburg is a worthwhile watch for history buffs, even though lay viewers might struggle with it. It's certainly better than its successor, the overwrought, laughably pro-Confederate Gods and Generals - but that's another review. 7/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2011/04/gettysburg.html

I hope to rewatch Gods and Generals tonight.

« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 10:58:40 AM by Groggy » Logged


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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2011, 10:28:27 AM »

Uh oh: http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Gettysburg-Blu-ray/21104/#Review

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