Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:54 am Post subject: They're here! Finally....
Just happened to see the back of a Time magazine special on the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War and what did I see? A special limited collectors edition of both Gettysburg and Gods and Generals....
the DIRECTOR'S CUTS.
I can't seem to find the set on the internet, but I found an individual Blu-Ray of "Gods" and "Gettysburg" at amazon.com.
I loved Gettysburg. My take on "Gods" is that I really liked it the 1st time I saw it at the theater. Subsequent viewings have diminished it for me. That being said, if Maxwell has cleaned up a few things and has added some great scenes, my opinion can be fluid.
Now I wish I hadn't spent money on the VHS Director's Cut of Gettysburg.
Notice the reviews of the theatrical version of "Gods" are all over the place. It got more 5 star reviews than anything else, but there's an equal distribution of 1-4 star reviews. _________________ "Let us have faith that right makes might..."
- Abraham Lincoln
Russell Crowe was the original choice to play Stonewall Jackson but scheduling conflicts prevented his availability in the summer and fall of 2001, when the movie was filmed.
The Director's Cut will be released on May 24, 2011. The "Director's Cut" version of Gods and Generals is 280 minutes.. For the theatrical release, almost two-and-a-half hours of footage were removed to get the length down to approximately 3 hours, 39 minutes. Among the footage edited includes a sub-plot which follows John Wilkes Booth, the famous actor who would eventually become the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. One scene towards the end of the extended cut of the film features Chamberlain and his wife, Fanny, attending a production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in which Booth plays Brutus. Chamberlain and his wife have a conversation with Booth and his fellow actors following the end of the play.
Another scene cut from the film features a performance in Washington, D.C. in which Booth plays the role of Macbeth, which is being seen by President Lincoln. When he gives the famous "dagger of the mind" soliloquy, he looks directly at Lincoln while reciting it. Later, when Booth is offered the chance to meet with Lincoln, he refuses.
Possibly the one scene that historians were sad to see removed from the film was the sequence dealing with the Battle of Antietam. The battle was seen mostly from the perspectives of Jackson (who played a major strategic role in the battle) and Chamberlain (whose brigade was held in reserve). A few minutes of footage from this scene was available online, but since appears to have been removed.
When Ron Maxwell showed the director's cut of the film in a very early pre-screening, it received a standing ovation at the end. During a speech at the WV Book Festival, Civil War historian James Robertson said that the he had spoken to Maxwell and that the Director's Cut would be released on video during the first quarter of 2011. Author Jeff Shaara's website has confirmed that Warner Bros. will release the extended version in May.
It was announced that the director's cut of the movie would be released on Blu-Ray on May 24th, 2011. _________________ "Let us have faith that right makes might..."
- Abraham Lincoln
Apparently "Gods" has some scenes with John Wilkes Booth and Henry T. Harrison (Cooper Huckabee's character in "Gettysburg") and they also have a scene of Fannie and JL Chamberlain viewing a performance that includes Booth. What I most look forward to are the Antietam scenes. If those are as good as advertised, I'll have to bump this film up to 3 out of 4 stars...even if we have to still sit thru some of the "boring" stuff (which I've heard that this edition has really been revamped, so perhaps Maxwell has gotten rid of a lot of fluff.) Maybe he listened to some of the complaints. As read up above, the film got a standing ovation at it's one viewing of the director's cut. (Of course a cynic could say that they were cheering because it was finally over. )
And you're not the only one without Blu-Ray. I don't have it and don't intend on getting it for quite a while. My TV isn't even hi-def.
And I was shocked to read that 15% don't have cable or satellite. I wondered why some folks were complaining that CBS didn't carry all of the NCAA tourney games. _________________ "Let us have faith that right makes might..."
- Abraham Lincoln
Is the Gettysburg director's cut only available on Blu Ray? I have to confess that I am the last household in America that doesn't have a player to be able to watch it.
DVD version at amazon.com.
It is currently 48.99 for the whole shabang. However, they have a price guarantee, so at about the time it ships, they will give it to you for the LOWEST price it will sell for between now and around July 4th. (It's currently 46.96 at Wal-mart, but they don't have the price guarantee.)
So, if you know that you want to buy this, I would highly recommend doing a pre-order at amazon.com NOW, knowing that you will pay 48.99 at the most and you might get it for even less.
For those of you who did NOT like the original film:
Unless you thought it was worse than the films "North and South" or "The Blue and the Gray," I would still highly recommend that you give this Extended Cut at least one viewing. Do some housework during scenes you know you didn't like the first time, but let them "play through." NONE of the bad scenes have been extended. You have to watch the whole film to see new and extended scenes scattered throughout.
If you still think it's a mess, ok, but if you don't watch the extended cut your opinion is incomplete.
So I got to thinking. With the exception of the last Star Wars film, "Gods" is probably the best film I've seen in the last 8 years. (Probably more an indictment of the crap that's come out, but still.....)
Now, I watched the entire first disc last night. If you aren't worried about any spoilers, please read on.
First impressions? This is a much better film. Gaps have been filled in seamlessly. I don't believe anything has been cut, but the slow, almost cringe-worthy scenes are virtually drowned out by everything else that's going on. And the battle scenes in this film are better than any other Civil War film ever made. The film is divided up into 5 parts and there are some "hard breaks" in between.
I took notes.
The first new scene I noticed is how Thomas J. Jackson acquired Little Sorrell.
There seemed to be extended battle scenes of Manassas (the battle is even better now.)
John Wilkes Booth has parts throughout, including one where he is addressing Confederate troops and one in which he is backstage with Harrison.
They show Stonewall's promotion and the organizational change into the Army of Northern Virginia.
Lot's more scenes between Adelbert Ames and Chamberlain. This was a fine addition. Ames has a bigger role.
They show the soon to be 20th Maine getting their uniforms. There's a demonstration of loading a rifle with Tom Chamberlain (which is similar to one scene in "Glory.") and this scene later connects to a new scene during the Battle of Fredericksburg.
Lee and his lieutenants discuss the strategy that leads to the Maryland invasion. And we also see the ANV crossing the Potomac while singing "Maryland, My Maryland." Since the song comes from a Christmas tune, "O Tannenbaum" I thought the scene was related to Christmas until I heard the words.
We learn that one of Stonewall's aides, Morrison, is his wife Anna's brother.
We see Booth on stage in Chicago the same day as Antietam.
And, of course, we finally get the Battle of Antietam. It's not very long and generally covers the battle in the cornfield. Hood makes an appearance and isn't the passive character he seemed to be in the original version of the film.
For whatever reason I was thinking about how Longstreet, I believe, manned some of the cannon during the battle and I was hoping that would be filmed, but it was not.
We see a Prussian, under Jeb Stuart, present Stonewall with a new uniform. Not sure who the Prussian could have been.
At Fredericksburg, we see General Griffin address Ames and Chamberlain in the town.
Pickett and Kemper have a little scene and Kemper gets to address his troops. That was nice considering this was one of Royce Applegate's (Kemper) last films before his untimely death in a house fire.
Now, I have one more entire disc to watch. Having now seen Manassas, Antietam and Fredericksburg, I have a feeling the quality will drop off for me the rest of the way. There's supposed to be a scene between Booth and Lincoln and, as of yet, I've not seen it.
BTW, there were a TON of actors and extras in this film. TONS. I give them credit for "wrangling" all these folks together. It couldn't have been that far off from the epic films of the mid-20th Century.
Now, on to Disc #2........... _________________ "Let us have faith that right makes might..."
- Abraham Lincoln
Good Lord man, ..........try to contain yourself!!!
With my "joy" or with basically reciting every single new scene in the film?
I waited 8 years for the freaking original "vision" for this film. If I had known back in 2003 that I'd have to wait what basically amounted to 2 sets of years of what it normally takes to get through college I'd have been livid.
What we saw in the theater was a specific "arc" and a hodgepodge of what it should have been. Maxwell made a good point in one of the docs. He had to make a film that brought appeal to the Civil War buff crowd, those that know little about the Civil War, and those that know nothing about it. He ended up with something that pleased few.
If he makes another film, he should just try and please a target audience and hope for the best. If people not in the know don't get it, perhaps it will get them to do some research and get interested in this stuff. If they don't want to educate themselves, that's their loss. _________________ "Let us have faith that right makes might..."
- Abraham Lincoln
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