“Gods and Generals” Director’s Cut World Premiere Information

In the last two months, this blog has become the unofficial news outlet for anything and everything surrounding the Gods and Generals Director’s Cut, something that Civil War and American history enthusiasts alike have been waiting for since 2003. In November, I broke the grain-of-salt news that rumors were floating around regarding a release of the film in the first quarter of 2011. Then, after speaking to actor Brian Mallon, both through email and in our interview, he confirmed that the Cut would be coming in the spring, though the premiere is slated to be shown in July. Either way, we now have definite confirmation that it is coming this year, it’s just a matter of when.

We now have some news regarding the World Premiere, which is scheduled for July 22 and 23 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Virginia. The two-day event will feature a two-hour panel discussion with actors Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels, and Stephen Lang to be moderated by director Ronald Maxwell. This will last from 3-5 pm on the 23rd. There will then be a one-hour break before the actual film is shown, which will last from 6-11 pm. This is a highly exclusive event and you must order tickets to be allowed in. As of right now, the price and how to order is “to be determined”, but I have been in contact with one of their representatives who has added me to their email list, so any information I get will be passed on here.

I am really hoping to attend this because it seems like a once in a lifetime event. I was 12 years old and in sixth grade when I went to the movie theater with my mom to see this for the first time, and my love for this film has stayed with me all this time. The Antietam footage going in was regarded as the best footage shot for the entire movie, by all those lucky enough to have seen it. I also hope there will be some kind of a meet-and-greet with the actors, because I know Brian Mallon will be attending and I would love to get a chance to speak to him in person, after he gave such a great interview.

For more information, please visit their website, and also, check out my review of Gods and Generals.

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29 thoughts on ““Gods and Generals” Director’s Cut World Premiere Information

  1. Steve Hancock

    For my birthday in 2003, after the film first came out, I got the Official Companion Book to the movie, which included the entire shooting script for the film. Now if the Director’s Cut is anything like what the full-length script is (And I know some edits will be made for timing and pacing), we’re in for a real treat! The vibe I got from reading the script was something Shakespearean in tone, something similar to “Henry the Fifth.” Very epic in scope, and with a real emotional core! I’ve been waiting for this for seven years! Just have to hold on for a few more months! YIPPEE!!!

    God bless!

    1. Wes M.

      The book Steve mentions above, “Gods and Generals: The Illustrated Story of the Epic Civil War Film,” is the best book about the film. As you mention, it has the entire screenplay, including pages and pages about the production of the film, the historical period, the score, photos of the principal cast including wet plate photographs shot on cameras from the 1860s. It’s as if you are looking at actual period photographs. Anyone who likes this film should get this book. Another great companion book to go with it is “Gods and Generals: The Photographic Companion.”

      Here are links to the actual books on Amazon.com:

      http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Generals-Illustrated-Newmarket-Pictorial/dp/1557045437/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1295130489&sr=1-2-fkmr1

      http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Generals-Photographic-Companion-Gibson/dp/1577470966/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1295130624&sr=1-1

  2. Wes M.

    I can’t wait until the pre-order information pops up on amazon.com to pre-order Gods and Generals the director’s cut or the extended edition, depending on how Ron Maxwell and Warner Bros. decide to title it. In the meantime, there are a couple of deleted scenes on a bonus dvd with the soundtrack that I would highly recommend to fans of the film. I also want to highly recommend a recent director’s cut of another great Civil War film, “Ride with the Devil.” This was released last April by the Criterion Collection. Check it out here on Criterion’s website:

    http://www.criterion.com/films/17282-ride-with-the-devil

    Also, read Ron Maxwell’s concise and pithy of Ride with the Devil here:

    http://www.ronmaxwell.com/riding.html

    1. Nate77

      Hey all, was looking for this around on the internet and found two other blogs that mention all of this plus the MPAA which is the ratings system for motion pictures and they have released the PG-13 rating. Also if you check amazon.de which is amazon.com for germany, they have pre-orders showing a 27 May release. As always take it with a grain, in any case I WANT THEM BOTH,

      cheers

  3. C Plum

    As much as I look forward to seeing the director’s cut, I also fear the added footage. If the theatrical cut is the distilled essence of the best parts of the film, imagine what horrors the directors cut contains.

    The theatrical release was a terrible film. Just atrocious. Not because it was fragmented or too short. I never felt it was missing anything. Indeed, I felt that it was drawn out far too long with too many subplots, characters, and repeated footage.

    Ron Maxwell thinks that he can use the same shots over and over again in the battle scenes without anyone noticing. He does it frequently in days 1&2 of Gettysburg. But in G&G it really stands out as the repeated shots are usually poorly rendered CGI. How many times did you cringe when 200 identical CGI soldiers jog in unison across the screen? How many times did you shudder at the sight of 8-bit explosions in the sky? When these shots repeated over and over (especially in the Fredricksburg sequence), did you find youself excusing them? “Well you can’t capture the full scope of the battle, but at least he tried. He won’t use that shot again. Oh… wait…” Gettysburg had NO CGI shots and a smaller budget, yet the battles feel so much more real and grand. Ron had to find ways of depicting the scope of battles without the wheelchair of CGI. I’m reminded of a lovely shot during day one of real shells flying during and bursting in the air, but there are no soldiers or cannons in the shot. In that case Maxwell let his limitations dictate how he shot the battles rather than flaccidly grasping technology he didn’t understand.

    The history of cinema has shown us that limitations breed creativity and CGI breeds laziness. See: George Lucas.

    The second primary reason the film stunk was that it was so damned cheesy. The dialogue was simply quotes grabbed from textbooks. Hammy. misplaced sentiments. ALmost entirely expository. None of it felt real or motivated. None of the characters had intentions or objectives. They merely spoke words that advanced the threadbare plot, such as it is. Gettysburg did not have this problem. In that film nearly every scene involved action — characters trying to get something from other characters. That’s DRAMA. G&G had none.

    The history of cinema has shown us that poor dialogue indicates lack of characterization and lazy writing. See: George Lucas.

    The sentimentality was way over the top in G&G. It never felt real or human. This war was a traumatic, apocalyptic experience. Maxwell trivializes it by whitewashing the film with pomp and greeting card sentiments. Sure Ron shows us lots of blue guys falling down, but it doesn’t add up to anything more than just a tiresome demonstration of squibs. Death is the most dramatic device you have. When you use it ceaselessly it loses it’s impact. By the time the movie finally gets around to killing a central character (the red, haired fellow), it doesn’t even matter anymore. He’s just another guy that falls down, albeit gray this time. I can’t even remember his name, THAT’S how much I care about him.

    The history of cinema has shown us that trivial violence without consequence desensitizes the audience. See: George Lucas.

    The only interesting, human moment is when Billy Yank and Johnny Reb exchange good on the Rappahanock. The whole movie could have been about moments like that, or those two men, their conflict, their bonds, their camaraderie, and their murderous instincts, their trauma. Oh… someone already made that film: “Joyeux Noël.”

    I won’t even discuss the film’s depiction of African Americans and slavery. Res ipsa loquitur.

    Overall G&G lacks humanity. In Gettysburg I understand complex conflicts within and among the characters. I feel the precariousness of their situation. I am torn between the two sides. I empathize with their motivations. When they die it really hurts. All because I care about those people.

    I don’t care about anyone in Gods and Generals.

    When even more dull, documentary footage is added with more cheesy dialogue, more convoluted dead-end subplots, more one-dimensional characters, more scenes devoid of intention, more obligatory historical captions, more blue guys falling down, will the movie be improved?

    I shall keep an open mind.

    P.S. The final insult to me is that NONE of the reenactors got paid despite promises they would be. How shameful!

    1. Taylor

      @ C Plum – For someone who states that the film was atrocious and terrible, you had quite a bit to say about it. And I’m not sure I understand how, if you think that Gods & Generals was so awful and so lacking in…well, according to you, everything… then why are you looking forward to seeing the director’s cut? Are you that miserable that you want to subject yourself to a 5-6 hour version of a film you seem to have despised? Or are you actually looking forward to seeing it so that you can write another lengthy diatribe about the appalling, terrible awfulness of a George Lucas-compared film (and how you can compare that, I don’t know…)?

    2. Wes M.

      C Plum,

      Originally, there were to be real reenactors in those shots you take issue with. A lot of those reenactors were also in their respective state national guards. 9/11 happened during the shoot. A lot of them were called to return to their units and had to leave the Gods and Generals set early. In other words, there were contingencies. Anyone who wants to read about the production of the film for more background information like that really should get the book I mentioned above, “Gods and Generals: The Illustrated Story of the Epic Civil War film” (just follow the amazon link in my earlier post to check it out). So there was no choice but to use CGI soldiers in those shots. They look fine to me. I’ve never thought, “oh, those look fake” when I watch the film. I don’t get why people complain so much about that. I did, however, notice the repeat shot you mention. Fine. No film is perfect. If you watch any film enough times, you will catch continuity errors, boom mics, etc. Keep in mind that it is also a dramatic work. When shooting a film in 2001 that takes place between 1861-1863, it is going to be hard to get it 100% period correct. You have to recreate everything except for the some of the landscape and the sky (assuming there are no chemtrails in the sky when shooting). The dialogue would probably be my favorite aspect of Gods and Generals if I had to pick a favorite aspect of the film. The dialogue is period accurate and I enjoy hearing it because that, more than anything, takes me into the world the characters inhabit. Anyone who has read quotes from these characters in history books on the Civil War, anyone who has read memoirs or diaries written by these people, or anyone who has read some of the great American novels of the 19th century should recognize its accuracy. There is nothing cheesy about it. American diction has changed somewhat since the mid-19th century so it naturally sounds a bit different to our ears.

  4. I’ve been wanting to see the full length version ever since I saw the theatrical cut. I am very excited about this. I might even consider the expense in traveling from Texas to Virginia just to see it.

  5. Matthew Steger

    I was an extra in this film and had my own short scene behind the Marye’s Heights stone wall as I was making coffee at the camp fire. Like many of you, I have been awaiting the release of the full film. Looks like this may happen soon. I am looking forward to it.

  6. Chris

    If the interview with Brian Mallon wasn’t enough here’s a link to Jeff Shaara’s Website (the author who wrote the book upon which the film is based). On the page he confirms that the long awaited Director’s Cut will at last be released this May! Look’s like we’ll finally get our film! http://www.jeffshaara.com/movie_info.asp

  7. Chris

    One other little tid bit. Very recently iTues changed their display cover for Gods and Generals from the traditional sword clothed in the Confederate and Union banner to a a collage of Lee, Jackson, and Chamberlain with what looks to be a shot of Antietam underneath. This may be the cover we’ll be seeing in May.

    1. Just looked it up. Too bad it can’t be enlarged. It’s definitely an “official” looking cover and will most likely be what we will see in May. If anyone has any more info, please share.

      1. Chris

        By the way, this blog was the sight that first infomred me about this upcoming release so thank you very much for the updates and info you have provided!

  8. Bill Lindsey

    My brother and I were extras for the filming which took place the week of 9/11, this taking place in the Shenandoah Valley near Staunton; included was a scene which was cut out of the theatrical version, and it was a scene of the aftermath of the Sharpsburg fighting, with dead horses, wrecked artillery pieces, and lots of us Southerners as dead soldiers. The director’s people told us the next day that when they reviewed those scenes that night, everyone was crying, it was so emotionally draining. In the new director’s cut, which we have been awaiting for years, I can’t wait to see my dead face, face up, so Mama can see me.

    1. Wes M.

      Bill, did you and your brother get a chance to see the rough director’s cut at any of the special screenings where it was shown during the last ten years? Will the blu-ray release be your first time seeing it?

      1. Bill Lindsey

        Wes, my brother and I have seen none of these deleted scenes other than a few which are on youtube. Of course, we have seen the dvd release numerous times.

  9. George Till

    Having been one of the reenactors involved in most of the Keedysville Battle scenes, and personally knowing Jeff Daniels, and living in his town, I thought participating in the film was a major event in my life. I had a great time, and will be attending the panel discussion. The movie is what it is. If you don’t like it, so be it! Maybe you should be replying on a different issue on another website. George Till

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