Gettysburg: Director's Cut (Blu-ray Book Packaging)
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Like the Gods and Generals rerelease, this two-disc edition comes in handsome Blu-ray "book packaging," which includes bios of cast members and their characters, photos, time lines, and more. Audio commentary by director Maxwell, cinematographer Kees Van Oostrum, author James M. McPherson, and military historian Craig Symonds, expanded from the original video release, can be found on the first disc, while various other special features, almost all of which have been previously issued, appear on disc two (in standard DVD format, not Blu-ray). Principal among these is a nearly hour-long making-of featurette, narrated by Martin Sheen; the piece is informative but slick, playing out like a promo for the movie while providing both Civil War background and details about central characters… and, of course, their beards. Elsewhere, The Battle of Gettysburg, a 30-minute film that was a 1956 Oscar nominee, offers a detailed history of the battle--not with interviews or reenactments, but entirely by way of photos, music, statues of the main characters, footage of the battlefield landscape as it is today, and Leslie Nielsen's narration. Remaining features include maps of the battlefield and the one new addition, a piece encouraging viewers to make The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, a tour of Civil War battlefields and landmarks from Gettysburg in Pennsylvania to Monticello in Virginia. --Sam Graham
Top Customer Reviews
"Gettysburg" is one of my all-time favorite war films! It re-creates the Civil War's battle of Gettysburg with superb acting, an excellent screenplay, a hauntingly beautiful musical score, and some of the most authentic and stirring battle scenes I've ever seen in a movie.
Based upon Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize winning novel "The Killer Angels," this film follows the principal characters, and chronicles the main events, which occurred at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania from July 1-3, 1863. The events depicted in the film are notable for their historical accuracy. Some of the most exciting battle scenes in the film are General John Buford's engagement with the Confederates on the high ground north of Gettysburg on July 1; the defense of Little Round Top by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain's 20th Maine on the following day; and, of course, Pickett's Charge on the final day of the battle. The battle scenes contain plenty of smoke and fire, but are done without copious displays of blood and gore.
The acting in "Gettysburg" is excellent throughout. Jeff Daniels , who portrays Chamberlain, probably gives the best overall performance, but Martin Sheen (Robert E. Lee), Tom Berenger (Gen. James Longstreet), Sam Eliot (Buford,) Stephen Lang (Gen. George Pickett), and Kevin Conway (Sergeant Kilrain) also give performances which are outstanding for their realism, grittiness, and historical accuracy. Special mention must also go to the late Richard Jordan, whose portrayal of Confederate General Louis Armistead was consistently eloquent and moving.
I originally purchased "Gettysburg" in 1999, when it was available only in VHS format. Over the past fifteen years, it has also been released in both DVD and Blu-ray formats.Read more ›
I have an extensive DVD collection, and if you have experienced what I have, among them are the great quality transfers and some real dogs. Gettysburg might well be THE finest transfer I've seen. The video (I play it on a widescreen HDTV) and audio are outstanding. I must emphasize that the video delivers unbelievable clarity, perhaps the best I've seen. Clearly, the careful attention to detail and loving recreations that were the foundation for the original movie have been carried to the DVD with that same committment. It is refreshing to see a studio that REALLY cares about its product.
As an aside, I should also mention I am an amateur Civil War historian focused on the battle of Gettysburg and of course find the film an outstanding, albeit limited, short history of the battle. This DVD will expand other people's knowledge if they avail themselves of the feature length commentary, especially the portions by James McPherson from Princeton U. His narrative not only amplifies details of what the movie shows, but also puts a broader perspective on it, such as other important engagements at Gettysburg such as Culp's Hill, the Wheatfield, and others.
Bottom line: GET THIS DVD.
Gettysburg is a battle of superlatives. It was the largest and bloodiest encounter battle of the Civil War, adding up the three days between July 1 and July 3, 1863, and it tore the heart out of the Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.. It is also the most controversial battle, generating more than its share of debates over decisions and tactics. Was Lee off his game at Gettysburg, as Shaara suggests? Or, as other historians argue, was the battle lost by "Old Pete" Longstreet's case of the "slows" on July 2 (the attack on Devil's Den and Little Round Top) and July 3 (Pickett's Charge)? Longstreet's postwar memoirs lay the blame for Pickett`s Charge squarely at Lee's feet, but since Longstreet joined the Republican party after the war, many Southerners are quick to blame him for Lee's defeat.
Shaara's book, and therefore the film, makes choices in this debate. Shaara sides with Longstreet (aptly played by Tom Beringer), who is depicted as a thoughtful, reluctant warrior who vocally opposes the sanguinary frontal assaults launched by Lee on July 2nd and July 3rd . (For a different perspective, I highly recommend Noah Trudeau's latest book, "Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage.Read more ›
ONE: The Acting...There is a good amount of solid actors playing key roles in this movie. Sam Elliot, Martin Sheen, Jeff Daniels, and Tom Berenger are the big names. They are supported by other very good actors. They play their parts with proper accents and believability.
TWO: Balance...Some Civil War movies almost make the South seem like the bad guys ("Glory" comes to mind). No matter what part of the country you are from, as you watch "Gettysburg" you feel for the fighters on both sides. You understand the tough choices they had to make as this movie spends even time in both army camps. In a normal movie, I would have expected the Pickett's Charge scene to be a story of the Northerner's great stand. In this movie, both the South and the North are given their due during this key assault.
THREE: Personal Stories...This movie isn't just about the nuts & bolts of the battle (who was stationed here, who charged there etc...), but it also does a phenomonal job of telling the stories mostly of the key officers in this battle: Buford, Stuart, Chamberlain, Lee, and Longstreet. One part that was especially done well was the struggle between two close friends, Armistead (CSA) and Hancock (USA).
FOUR: Soundtrack...Very appropriate and beautiful music during different parts of the battle.
I could go on, but I think this highlights the strengths of this great movie. It's one that's well worth watching.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really good insight into the Civil War battle. A must see before planning a getaway to Gettysburg.Published 2 days ago by Maryann S
A good history, but slow in action. Some of the acting was poor (Martin Sheen) and the dialogue and production, in general, a little cheesy. Looked like a re-enactors filming. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Rick
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