Thursday, February 12, 2004

civil war

Trapped at home, still battling stuff, I watched a DVD of Gods and Generals, a prequel based on the novel by the same name, to Gettysburg.

Both movies were underwritten by Ted Turner, are very long, and at their best give one a brief glimpse into battlefields of the American Civil War. At their worst, they are a film version of a Disney animatronics attraction. Robert Duval is Lee, a much better choice than Martin Sheen (who played him in Gettysburg).

It's obvious that much of the dialogue is taken from diaries and memoirs. The style is literary and flowery, much like the prose of the mid-19th century.

Much of the movie centers on Thomas Stonewall Jackson, the Presbyterian mystic who led forces under Robert E. Lee.

It's a quibble, but I doubt that Jackson would have talked about Christmas tree ornaments with a little girl. Presbyterians in the early 19th century did not even believe that Christmas should be celebrated on December 25, and certainly resisted the rich German traditions of Christmas.

Much of the movie is about how this was not started over slavery but over states rights. All the pious southerners talk about how much they love the Union, but how much more they loved their southern states.

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