• It’s a Ted Turner project and at least at the time of its release in 1993 it was the longest American film released in theater- 4 hours and 31 minutes
  • Randy Edelman’s rousing score—did The Last of the Mohicans the year before in 1992
  • The black and white photos in the credits are wonderful- also nods to Ken Burns 1990 PBS special—he has a cameo here
  • There are many intelligent and well performed speeches and scenes- Jeff Daniels—who is great here—has one by dusk encouraging the men who have quit to fight again
  • Sam Elliott is another strong one here- “I’ve led a soldiers life” and you believe him- accent, toughness, worn uniform
  • 13000 extras shot on location—absolutely adds even if Maxwell doesn’t know what he’s doing all the time
the thousands of extras and practical effects give the film scope even if Maxwell is far from being David Lean
  • Occasionally we get some bad form with the inner monologues
  • Richard Jordan’s last film
  • Some of these beards—ughh—just ridiculous and poor work by the costume people- C. Thomas Howell (who otherwise is fine here)—Berenger’s beard—terrible—a few others
  • Kevin Conway is Daniels’ sidekick and he does a great Thomas Mitchell-like performance here
Jeff Daniels and Kevin Conway both equip themselves so well here
  • Stephen Lang’s General Pickett shows up 80 minutes in—you can’t take your eyes off Lang when he’s on screen – charming and demonstrative
  • The narrative bounces around nicely—it’s not Dunkirk or Intolerance or anything but it’s well woven
  • Repeated discussion on the quality of the ground— that is good form
  • The confederate extras laying there in mass on the ground has to make you think of Gone With the Wind– many scenes with hundreds of extras but Maxwell doesn’t know how to shoot it to give us scope—there are so many tight shots—I’m sure he wanted to capture the performances and he does a good job there- but the film’s art misses out
  • Berenger is the strong center—louder characters around him
ridiculously bad fake beard aside- it’s an achievement for Tom Berenger
  • Final battle is impressive- rows and rows of soldiers and the best scene may be the tracking shot in on Lang for his “I have no division” line and then another tracking shot back on Sheen’s General Lee for his reaction
  • Recommend