A new version of the movie, "Gods and Generals", has been released as a 150th Commemoration of the “Civil War” (sic). Don’t buy it unless you want to get very angry. The movie, from a Southerners’ point of view, has been destroyed in this new, longer version.
The original release was one of the more accurate renditions of the “Civil War” (sic) and essentially was the story of Stonewall Jackson, a favorite of Southerners everywhere. In the “new” Director’s cut, Stonewall Jackson’s role has been much diminished and the role of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain has been greatly increased. Also, an entirely new sub-plot which was completely missing in the original, has been introduced; that of the development of John Wilkes Booth, portrayed in an extremely negative light.
I should have expected this when I read the included 48 page booklet which is opened with the most disgusting, really nauseating, mea culpa by the director of the film, Ronald F. Maxwell, for the first version of the movie, stating that he has re-edited the entire movie from start to finish including much new material, never before seen. He blathers on with indirect negative references to the South. But absolutely the most nauseating is his statement that this is the story he had always wanted to tell, implying that editorial control of the first version had been stripped from him.
The new version was released under the Turner Films label, further confirming that Ted Turner has completed his conversion to a no good Scalawag, a liar, and a traitor to the South.
The movie now gives top billing to Robert Duvall as General Lee, and second billing to Jeff Daniels as Col Joshua Chamberlain, and third billing to Stephen Lang as Stonewall Jackson, We learn a great deal more about Joshua Chamberlain in the new version, beginning with his role as a teacher, and as a latter day civil rights worker, complete with long scenes of his intellectual discussions with his wife demonstrating that he is the paragon of Northern “manhood” and decency. This continues with frequent material added to support his basic “heroic” character setting up the sequel in “Gettsyburg” where Chamberlain once again proves that men who hold the very high ground and fight from behind boulders, hold a decided advantage.
Not to be out done, we get an entirely new subplot with scene time stolen from the original version’s scene times for Stonewall Jackson. The added subplot consists of a number of lengthy scenes demonstrating Booth as a squirmy little self centered boy, full of himself, and constantly trying to emulate men of greater character. This nauseating series of scenes is so clearly an attempt to paint Booth as a man of no character and in the most negative light possible. He is played as the Director’s image of a typical Southerner.
The battle scenes have been re-cut to better display the “valor ” of the North.
We get a long speech by Jeff Daniels (Col Joshua Chamberlain) about how the war began as a war to preserve the Union, but halfway through became a war to end slavery.
I felt the entire re-cut version was simply a rape of history and a prostitution of the original film.
Watching it made me so angry, I could not sleep so I watched the entire original film just to refresh my memory. The new version is a politically correct version designed to correct the errors in judgement made in the original cut, according to its director. Instead, it prolongs and further deepens the myth and the lie, accepted now as history, of a "noble" and "courageous" North, whose only goal was to abolish slavery and “preserve the Union”. Here is Turner Films’ offer to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (sic).
Next time you want to vomit, watch about fifteen minutes of this film.
On The Web: http://www.southernwarroom.info/post?id=5289373