Monday, May 30, 2011

History Channel presents a shorter "Gettysburg" (compare to Turner's 1993 missive)

The History Channel’s two-hour documentary Memorial Day “Gettysburg” was pretty much a conventional documentary, often looking spooky with the night scenes of the highland areas of the Union encampment. 

That is a big contrast to the four-hour Turner Film in 1993, directed by Robert Maxwell, where actors give long speeches (that was really made for television although it had a limited theatrical release from New Line.) In two hours, you don't have time for personal philosophical ruminations about sacrifice.

The new film states that at the start of the War Between the States, slaves were the country’s largest economic “asset”.

The Battle of Gettysburg had the armies in reverse; the Confederates approached from the NW. The battle was so large because of the particular geography of the area, with the many roads arranged like spokes of a wheel.

This was a culture in which young men were fungible. One third of Lee’s troops were lost in the battle, the largest ever in North America. Almost one quarter of battlefield amputations were fatal.

The second half of the film documents Pickett’s Charge, which, despite the slaughter of the attacking Confederates, came closer to succeeding at one point than most people realize.  The film gives a lot of technical description of how the Union artillery worked.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This treatment of Gettysburg is
third-rate at best. The camera
work for one thing is awful.

For a fine, state-of-the-art film,
Maxwell's 1993 Gettysburg is the one!!
The cinematography, acting, music,
historical accuracy are beyond compare.
The History channel seems to pander to the lowest common
denominator.