Sunday, January 07, 2007

Gettysburg the movie

I had a hankering for some American Civil War action so I put on the movie Gettysburg with the sound down. Put some early slide guitar compilations on in the background. Not bad to watch it like this as you avoid the awful dialogue and ridiculous acting and just get to see the big set piece scenes and action sequences. Some of it is a bit ropey though - obviously the facial hair is famous but what about the overweight reenactors? There is a scene at the beginning where the scout is reporting to the Confederate command and there is someone in the background who looks like Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas. Some of the fighting is marred by some Billy Bunteresque Rebels who look distinctly in need of some hard campaigning and less time at the biscuit barrel- it's funny to think that they are correct in every detail apart from the fact that their diet could feed a whole family in 1863. The clothes don't look at all well tailored for a lot of the speaking parts - looks like they went to one of the reenactor suppliers and as a result the stuff looks unlived in and bunchy if you know what I mean - did they not have anyone on set to sort out the little details like badly worn clothes? Apparently the reenactors got a T-shirt (XXL no doubt) and a copy of the video for their work. The bright Pennsylvanian Summer sunlight and settings are beautiful of course and it is a picturesque movie all in all on a grand scale rarely seen these days apart from annoying and obvious digital fakery. Obviously Americans get very sentimentail when dealing with the Civil War and it might make a European cringe but it's all part of what we expect from a movie of this genre. The clip below deals with Pickett's charge and is pretty effective in demonstrating the folly of using Napoleonic infantry tactics on a Victorian battlefield. Wish someone would make a big budget movie of the Franco Prussian war though.

Another sequence