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Monday, June 9, 2014

Bleary-Eyed Monday

Yes that's what today is for us (yawn).

WHY ?
Because
 we watched a 366 minute movie (right, over 4 hours) until after 1 a.m. It was highly recommended by friends as background for a future trip to Gettysburg National Military Park (GNMP). And we listen to friends, right?  

Yes, we should have started watching earlier in the evening. But, then again, we can sleep late on a weekday morning, which we DID.

WHAT did we see ?
Gettysburg, a 1993 film  sense) written and directed by Ronalf F. Maxwell and based on the 1974 Pulitzer Prize novel, The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara. The film depicts the Battle of Gettysburg waged for 3 days in July 1863 at the site of a theology school, in PA. It was shot at the actual location, now GNMP, and a nearby farm and deployed thousands of Civil War fans in authentically detailed costumes. From first ideas, story drafts to final editing and post production, nearly 15 years of work went into making the movie. Originally titled after the book, but retitled after test audiences thought it was about cycle gangs.

Did I mention this film is VERY long — 4:31:15 with almost every part focused on battle strategy or battles between Confederate and Union forces. This actual conflict involved over 155,000 men with casualties of over 40,000. This is an all-male cast without a single female in the cast which features Tom Berenger, Jeff Daniels, Martin Sheen, and Richard Jordan, who as Confederate Brig. Gen. Lewis Armistead, delivers a lengthy speech about death in his last film role. Jordan died of a brain tumor after its completion; his memorial was held in LA on the same day the film opened in Gettysburg, PA.

Made at great expense (est. $20 million, 21 years ago) by Ted Turner's New Line Pictures, Gettysburg had a short theatrical release; its length required an intermission; theaters limited it to 2 showings daily, usually mid-day and early evening and most did not include trailers for other films. One of the longest films ever released by a Hollywood Studio. It was later broadcast as a TV miniseries on Turner's TNT cable network.
The second half of the film largely deals with the fatal decision by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, (Sheen) to send his forces into an open field toward Union forces protected by a stone wall in what was a suicidal attack. In the film, Lee's principal aide, Gen. James Longstreet (Berenger), begs him to reconsider. But Lee displays a strong faith in his cause and his men, who inspired by him, march into battle, many to death. This was considered evidence of the deep (fanatical?) conviction that both sides brought to the battle.
The film covers many scenes of military strategy wherein intelligence briefings show that the two armies discover they are closer to one another than first thought. This is before aerial reconnaissance, when scouting reports provided information on enemy movement.
Our Thoughts . . .
We now understand a LOT more than before about this part of U.S. history. Yes, this film is long, but we were caught up by its presentation and the sweep of battle as men fought in hand-to-hand combat. Also, the score by Randy Edelman was majestic in scope. We have the Killer Angels book (bought at a sale) but will wait awhile before starting it before our future road trip.

INTERESTED ?
If you want to view Gettysburg. It is available for FREE streaming online through YouTube, which is where we watched it and amazingly without hangups considering its length. Just allow for a few many intermission breaks. (If the above link doesn't work, do an online search which is how we found the link; this film was not available for streaming online thru Netflix.)

NOW, we need to catch up on some sleep today.
Wondering IF anyone has seen this film OR any others of similar epic length.

(Film posters and book cover are from online sources; presented for illustration only.)

12 comments:

Grenville T. Boyd said...

WARNING!!!!!!!
This film may require numerous potty breaks (depending on age and gender) and possibly 2, yes TWO, ice cream infusions (with carmel sauce of course).
Recovery time could require a late morning and multiple naps the next day.
Watch at your own risk!!!!!!!!!
Grenville (Dozing at the keybbbbbbbbbb)

Emma Springfield said...

Thank you, Grenville for the heads up. It sounds like a wonderful movie. I somewhat of a Civil War buff. I read everything I can and try to sort some truth out of it all.

Gail Dixon said...

My dad is a huge Civil War buff and collector. I will have to send him the link. Thank you so much for the info.

Daisy said...

Four hours, oh my! I'd probably fall asleep before it was over if I tried to watch the whole thing. I'd have to break it up into parts and watch it over two or three days time.

A Quiet Corner said...

Netflix, here we come....thanks!...:)JP

William Kendall said...

It is my favourite movie, favourite novel, and favourite film score. It nicely balances the north and south perspectives and commanders, and has tremendous performances all around.

Elaine said...

It sounds like good preparation for visiting Gettysburg. We took one of the battlefield tours, and then went back again on our own to take more time. Even after all this time there's a very intense feeling in the air. After visiting Gettysburg and knowing how very sad I felt the whole time we were there, I think I'd have a hard time watching the movie. I'll be interested in hearing your reaction after you've been to Gettysburg.

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Saw it on TV after having studied the battle in a college class. Excellent movie.
Have been to Gettysburg several times, and I, too, find it to be a "heavy" place.
On your way back, Antietam and Sharpsburg, Maryland are also worth visiting.

Out on the prairie said...

A fun trip, I have been there when in high school

thecottagebythecranelaketwo said...

I've seen the mini series and it was interesting but I doubt I would have seen the entire film in one evening :-) I think if one is going to Gettysburg this is a good way to understand what really happened there.

Have a great day!
Christer.

Montanagirl said...

I have never seen that movie to my knowledge. I think it would be a good one to have in our collection.

Anvilcloud said...

The last and I guess only theatre movie I remember with an intermission was Reds at just over 3 hours. At least this is my memory. We went to some cheap movies at a nearby auditorium, and I think they had intermissions to encourage treat sales.

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