It’s been four months since my last rating of a movie soundtrack, but due to the late summer doldrums I have decided to bring it back.
Next on the list at number six goes to the 2003 Civil War epic Gods and Generals, directed by Ronald Maxwell. Although he has directed other films, Maxwell will always be known for directing this films sequel, Gettysburg, along with this, and in both films, he shows a ear for great music.
While Edelman composed the music for Gettysburg, he was too busy with other projects when this film rolled around. He would contribute some music but the majority went to John Frizzell, whom Edelman recommended.
This film’s opening score starts out rather unusual, with a song rather than a main theme. We hear “Going Home” sung by Mary Fahl, and although I was surprised, this piece really sets the tone for the film. The overlay of all the different battle flags in the background was also a really nice touch.
Not used much at all, save for a few excerpts, is the main theme of the film, “Gods and Generals”, which is powerful and resounding, perfect for a movie with so much emotion, both in battle and in the private lives of the main generals of both commanding forces.
The Battle of Fredericksburg, which is the second battle depicted in this film, was the first time that Irish Brigades of the Union met those of the Confederacy. For that, we have the haunting theme of “These Brave Irishmen” which captures the saddening effect of men from the same country, fighting each other on a foreign land. As Buster Kilrain would say, “We left Ireland to escape a tyranny and wind up shooting at one another in the land of the free.”
Perhaps my most favorite piece from this wonderful soundtrack is “V.M.I Will Be Heard From Today”, played when Jackson’s troops are surprise attacking the Union at Chancellorsville. The music starts out very slow, but gradually gets louder and faster, before erupting in a bold out-lash of vocals. This was another instance of music being used to perfection, as it was played while his troops slowly approached the Union line, and finally attacked them.
To close out the movie, Bob Dylan’s song, “Cross the Green Mountain” was used during the end credits. Just listen to the words of this song, and it will give you a great idea of what the American Civil War was all about.
Previous Films on this List