Deleted scenes from Gods and Generals

I looked forward so much to the release of Gods and Generals, which I feverishly hoped was even better than Gettysburg. I saw the trailer at a movie theater here in York PA, and that got my hopes up even further. When the movie came out, one of my sons invited me to see it with him. He was in central Ohio at the time in college, so I drove the seven hours to Columbus, picked him up, and went to a very nice modern multi-plex cinema. The room was packed, and an air of anticipation filled the room.

The opening music, the fluttering flags, the promise of Buster Kilrain… I settled back for what I thought was going to be a fantastic afternoon of Civil War entertainment. Five minutes later, I was ready to fall asleep, and I have never sat through the entire movie again, despite owning the DVD. Too little battle action; too much of Jackson’s homilies.

I’m told by people who have seen the deleted scenes (which were more than two hours in length) that there was some decent Antietam material left on the cutting room floor. Some of the deleted scenes have over the past few years been posted on the Internet, including some scenes with more singing (I didn’t know this was going to be a musical). Here is a You Tube clip of a group of Irish Rebels sitting around a campfire listening to a ballad.

Did you like Gods and Generals? What was your favorite part? Least favorite? If someone were to tackle another Civil War movie, what would you like to see?

Categories: Civil War movies | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Deleted scenes from Gods and Generals

  1. Scott,

    After seeing “The Dirt Bike Kid” I was certain that I’d gotten over the hurdle of seeing the worst movie ever made. Sadly, “Gods and Generals” disabused me of that notion.

    To be fair let me state upfront that I saw only the first half of the film (I left at intermission, lurching from my seat like a man in need of oxygen) so perhaps I was hasty and unfair in my judgement.

    Perhaps the second half was better (like, way better). Perhaps the script included actual dialogue rather than silly soliloquys. Perhaps the director invented a time machine to travel back in time to his film school days, and this time he would actually learn something. Perhaps the billions of reenactor extras had dropped sixty pounds (individually) since that laughable first half. Perhaps the director would have not only discovered the script pages that covered Antietam (must have left them in the john) but also bowed to his towering limitations and hired a director of demonstrated competence.

    So, perhaps, I missed something. And perhaps one day someone will pay me enough to watch the DVD so that I can decide for myself if I was overly hasty in my decision to escape from the biggest wide-screen disaster since…ah… since, (hmm)… his next film?

    Thanks for asking,

  2. Jerold Stefek

    I heard many terrible reviews of the movie when it came out. I never bothered to watch it until a couple of months ago. After viewing it I didn’t think it was as horrible as I had imagined it. It isn’t Glory or Gettysburg but I could sit through it. For as much time as they spent preaching you would think they would get the story right. I know Stonewall was a preacher and didn’t own slaves but the movie made him out to be something just short of an abolitionist. His friend the African American cook seemed kind of insulting. Is there any truth to it? The movie seemed to sugar coat the race issues of the war. I did enjoy the Fredericksburg battle. Having never seen the geography I got a good sense of the Union’s futile charg up the heights. For those scenes I could tolerate the movie.

  3. I actually saw it opening day in the theater and had hoped the battle of Antietam was covered, but alas it was not. I enjoyed the action but it was rather choppy as it jumped around. I am sure the average non-history buff would have been totally lost as to the timeline. Unlike many reviewers, I was not bothered bywhat has been described as pontification, preaching,etc. Instead I thought it was probably an accurate depiction of the life and times of the people of that day. Today we are so removed from rural and extended family life we forget that families actually did at one time pray together, dicuss moral issues, have sing-alongs, etc. I did enjoy the movie better later when I rented it and could focus on the details rather than try to follow the story line.

  4. Thomas Beach

    I chuckled so often during “Gettysburg” that my expectations for “God’s and Generals” was quite low. And well it should have been. Both films were silly. With the exception of Stephen Lang as Pickett (later to play Jackson) and the late Richard Jordan as Armistead, both superb performances, the casting was a bust. And when the casting falters, so goes the rest of the film. Tom Berenger as Longstreet was laughable, I thought. And I was upset to see Sheen playing Lee. This was primarily because I recall that Duvall had been slated to play the part but was lost to delays in production which produced schedule conflicts for him. That said, I was shocked to see Duvall and his later protrayal of Lee. I thought he was completely miscast, being both uninspiring and downright boring! And in the end, I returned to Sheen’s performace as quite good if not awkward. One must admit that there is a palpable aura of authenticity during Lee’s mounted walk through the survivors of the Pettigrew, Pickett’s and Trimble’s charge. Ultimately, Maxwell’s scripts were boring, rife with stilted dialogue, interminable scenes of unimportant dialogue and tried too hard to breath life into these historical figures. In his defense, it is always a delicate matter to write and cast a film with such enormous personages as these. Especially when Civil War students have a preconceived notion of what these people were like in real life. I think this is why “Glory” worked so well — practically unknown characters in lower-profile battles.

  5. Sorry to be so late to the party, but I just watched the film all the way through for the first time. I had attempted to view it when it first arrived on DVD but couldn’t sit through past Morgan Sheppard’s first appearance. Well, I finally persevered…think I’ll just scourge myself next time the bug bites as it would be less painful than watching this giant load of tripe.

    Gettysburg is one of my favorite films. I think the difference in the two films may be attributable to the source material. The Killer Angels is a Pulitzer winning novel of incredible depth, beautifully written with an obvious love for the people and events depicted. Gods and Generals is a lesser effort in every way and always struck me as an attempt to make money from a father’s fame. I’ve read a couple of other Jeff Shaara novels as well, and his attention to period detail and grasp of period social mores leaves much to be desired.

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