3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Birth Pains of America,
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This review is from: Gettysburg (Double sided DVD)  (DVD)
I came to buy and view Gettysburg via another film in the same timeline; that being `Gods and Generals'. That film, which covered the commencement of the American Civil War to the untimely death of the Confederacy's greatest General, `Stonewall' Jackson; which could have been outstanding, was ruined by the screen- and script-writers' insistence on giving the leading characters long, very long, soliloquys, mainly religious in essence, to attempt to explain their actions and planning during the campaign. Needless to say, this turned the audiences off, and the film was itself a commercial failure; but it did spur me to check what else was available, and that is how I came to buy `Gettysburg'.
The fact that the two armies, North and South, came together at that small Pennysylvania town was sheer coincidence, as the scouts for both Armies nearly missed one anothers' massed Corps, and that was how a Northern Cavalry General grasped the fact that his men could take and hold the high ground ahead of any Southern attempt to force-march towards the same area.
The film was shot on the very battle grounds which were soaked in American blood, and together with the thousands of Re-Enactment volunteers, who came together with their muskets, uniforms and horses, gives an air of reality to the screenplay which was unique in it's verisimilitude.
The film concentrates on three leading roles, General Robert E. Lee and General Kingstreet for the Confederacy, and Lieutenant-Colonel Chamberlain of the 20th Maine Infantry for the Union; because it was the Maine men who took the brunt of the attacks on the left flank of the Union Line at Little Round Top, an attack which was finally repulsed by a massed bayonet charge by the Union soldiers, bayonets because they had no more ammunition!
Lee is shown as moving, on the third day, towards a plan which was totally against the methods which had brought him so much success previously, and while Longstreet argued against it, the plan was solidified, and `Pickett's Charge' was set in motion. A charge of fifteen thousand men, which in actuality was a steady walk over a mile uphill straight into the massed artillery of four Corps of the Union Army, and aiming straight at the positions which, by some strange coincidence, was where the 20th Maine Regiment had been placed because, "Colonel, the Brass want your Regiment rested, you'll be right in the centre of our line, and there ain't no-one stupid enough to march towards you!"
The battle scenes were filmed while those soldier actors walked the same fields as their forefathers, and as one `officer' remarked, "the guys are crying as they march because they are living the history all over again!"
A fantastic film, well worthy of the time when America was born again!
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Initial post: 14 Apr 2011 15:37:31 BDT
Actually, his name is Longstreet.
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