“Gods and Generals” Fans: Today is Your Day!

Well everyone, the day we have all waited eight years for has finally arrived. I would just like to say that it has been a pleasure writing for you in these last few months, and I hope you will continue to frequent this blog as I will try to keep the Civil War related articles coming. In the mean time, I invite all of you to post your complete reviews in the comment section of this article. And don’t forget to answer these questions:

  1. What time in the morning did you wake up?
  2. Did you skip work or cut class?
  3. How many people did you knock down on your way to the film section?

Okay, so maybe I’m kidding, or at least I hope so, but I’m sure there will be some funny stories to go along with these. In case you have not already read them, or were just waiting because you did not want the added footage spoiled, please check out my reviews of both the Gods and Generals Extended Director’s Cut and the Gettysburg Director’s Cut.

Happy viewing!

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42 thoughts on ““Gods and Generals” Fans: Today is Your Day!

  1. Ben K.

    I’m just passing the time doing real Army stuff till I can go home and enjoy a long evening at the end of a very long wait. Counting the minutes…

  2. Steven

    Sadly, today I am having to put together a research paper proposal (Proposal my butt! It’s should’ve been called a mini-research paper!). Fortunately, I pre-ordered my copy through Amazon, and it arrived just a couple hours ago! I’ve managed to sit through Part 1, and have been very impressed! While I was sad to see the scene of Jackson praying before First Manassas, but I will admit that the sequence went along better without it. Gonna try and finish the proposal up so I can sit through Parts 2 and 3 tonight. Been pretty awesome so far!

    God bless!

    1. Kyle

      So when you pre-order something on Amazon, does it arrive at your house on the release date? I ordered the combo limited blu ray boxed set, and it says it’ll be released on July 4th. Does this mean I’ll GET IT on July 4…???

      1. Kyle

        Ah okay. Somewhere it said the 4th. I didn’t really expect to get it then because it’s a national holiday and the day before is a Sunday.

  3. SCOTT DOVE

    JUST WANTED TO SAY THANKS FOR KEEPING US ALL IN THE LOOP. I LIVE IN THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY WHERE SEVERAL SCENES OF THE FILM WERE SHOT. I TOLD MY SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS CAMP LAST NIGHT OF THE DIRECTORS CUT AND FOUND OUT SOME OF THEM HAD BEEN EXTRAS ON SET AND HAD MET STEPHEN LANG. I’M OUT OF STATE WITH MY WORK TODAY, BUT I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THE COMPLETE PICTURE.

  4. Jeff

    My order pre order came in today, taking a pause at Fredericksburg, all I have to say Antietam was amazing and should never have been left out. The extended scenes involving the training of the 20th Maine were also excellent.

  5. Ray

    I skanned through Gods and Generals as soon as I got home. I believe that the director’s cut has greatly improved the film. The added footage of camp scenes etc. makes the film more than just a battle film. There seems to be a great deal about Booth and what I viewed almost seems to present him in a favorable light as a southern patriot.
    I loved the footage of Antietam but would have liked to have seen more of course.
    ALSO, did anyone notice that they have the date of Antietam wrong. Before the actual battle begins they have a sub title in white stating outside of SHarpsburg Maryland, September 19th 1862. I’m not trying to be critical but REALLY. How do you have the wrong date for such a significant battle as Antietam? Overall I really think this is a great improvement. Well done and I want to thank you for the information you have been giving regarding the release of these two films. I don’t think the release of these two films has been advertised well. If it wouldn’t have been for you and your web site I might not have known and realized a desire I have had for years. Years ago, I used to E. Mail the director’s web site askiing when the director’s cut would come out. THey indicated that it would be soon. Now finally it has. I found you web sit by accident one night and now look at it every day. THank you for an excellent web site I have enjoyed the interviews, background etc.

      1. Steven

        I noticed it myself. My first words were: “Oh, the idiots!” Nevertheless, the only quibble I had with the film. The battle itself was fantastically done, despite being the shortest battle in the film.

        Overall, this was a great improvement on what was an already great film. If it wasn’t the definitive Civil War epic, it sure as hell is now!

  6. Chris

    I just got to Part 4 and I have to say that I think the Antietam battle footage might be some of the best from either film!

  7. Ben K

    All I wanted to do last night after watching the movie was stand up and cheer, but as the rest of my family was asleep I really couldn’t. BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT! I attempted to judge this version of the movie solely on its own merit with impartiallity and found it easy. THIS IS truly the EPIC that should have been released first, and thereby garnered the respect it well deserves. This is the film that all of us who worked on it KNEW we were making, the masterful re-edit of this film makes for a tighter, better, all around remarkable film that should be admired. The performances that were cut out of the theatrical version alone are astounding. Conner’s Booth is amazing and it is fantastic that the public was able to finally see his award calibur performance. Every change and addition helped make the film flow and the full four and 1/2 hours didn’t feel like a chore to watch but an experience. Gone is the clunky disjointed narrative of the previous version and in its place a long well paced story of a large cast of characters, only a few films and TV shows have been able to pull off switching deftly back and forth between characters while keeping each one interesting. And I’ll admit selfishly that in addition to all of the added content it was nice to see myself in the film twice as much, facetime on screen is always cool 😉 (I even found myself in scenes I forgot I had worked on, oh and that IS me smoking a cigar and reading behind Jackson’s staff during the ‘pun’ discussion and Jackson getting his new uniform scene if anyone was wondering =p ) I really hope the general public will give this version of the film a chance, however, I’m realistic enough to know that is alot to hope for and I don’t see it happening as much as we’d like. The majority of people will pass it by because of the theatrical cut not wanting to sit through a longer version of a movie they already dislike, while others will pass it by because of it’s length. I also hope that within a year or two that one of the Turner networks will see fit to run it as a miniseries thus softening the blow of the length. I just want this version seen and appreciated for the truly great film that it is, it’s all that I could have hoped for. Yes, there are still a few minor omissions that I would have liked to see fleshed out (check out my old list of missing scenes that I posted awhile back to get an idea of what was still not included) but it does not detract at all from my overall pleasure at seeing the DC after all this time. So now on to a G&G/ Gettysburg Civil War o Thon over this long Memorial Day weekend, wish me luck fellow enthusiasts and thanks for all your love and support of G&G those of us that spent months working on this labor of love trully appreciate it!

    1. Ben K

      OH, quick note: This could be a minor insight into how the film was reedited and how some scenes fit together and material that was still left out. I noticed last night that the heavy set 20th Maine recruit character who had trouble adjusting and is later yelled at by Kilrain (“Quit your whining your’re making more noise then the man who lost his head, pick up your musket!”) that I had mentioned earlier in the list of scenes I witnessed that were not in the theatrical cut can actually be glimpsed in this version of the film. Shortly after Joshua and Tom Chamberlain meet up at the camp during the formation of the 20th Maine the two characters are walking and talking and the individual can be seen sitting to the right in a brown jacket smoking a pipe, this scene cuts ubruptly there but originally continued on to the introduction of this character. This character is one of the small omissions I would have liked to see for my own curiosity especially the ‘pick up your musket’ scene. These scenes from my recollection added some fun character moments but overall didn’t add anything to the story.

      1. Ben K

        OK after another viewing this past weekend I realized I was wrong. The scene in question with the character ‘Joe’ (I looked it up in the screenplay) is actually during a scene between Chamberlain and Ames not Josh and Tom, my mistake. Also the ‘Joe’ Character can also be viewed at the end of the formation during the “But we leave for Washington tomorrow” scene. (Not far from me as it turns out) 😉

  8. Gettysbuff

    Greg,

    What exactly are the confederate irish cheering after the Union irish retreat at Fredericksburg?…I’ve read different things about this.

      1. Kyle

        Thanks Greg for clearing that up. I’ve wondered about that for years now, and had no answer for my siblings who asked about it the other night.

  9. Kyle

    Okay that’s really frustrating. Just checked the Amazon listing to see how the reviews are going, and whaddya know, Amazon imported all the 770+ reviews from the OTHER versions. So now we have folks ranting about how horrid the movie is, but … they’re referring to the THEATRICAL release, not the Director’s Cut. 😦

  10. Blake

    For those interested, here is a link to a review I just posted over at Amazon, for the G&G director’s cut: http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Generals-Extended-Directors-Packaging/product-reviews/B004OA684E/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending#R2DDYDAT464S8J

    Should be at or near the top. Reviewer name there is Blake Jarred.

    I must say, I am actually quite pleased by the Blu-ray image quality for “Gettysburg,” probably more so than with “Gods and Generals” (which I talk about in the Amazon review). With “Gettysburg,” details were sharper and the colors brighter than I had ever seen them, yet it remains unmistakably the same film I grew up with, as far as its grain structure and overall texture. That could not have been an easy balance to strike, fitting 4 hours and 31 minutes onto one disc, and also considering that the film is nearly 20 years old.

    1. Wes M.

      That was a great review. I like how you identify Booth as the Greek chorus. His Shakespeare monologues really parallel what is happening in the narrative of the story. As for the incorrect Antietam date, I wonder if Warner Bros. will fix that for future printings of the blu-ray? New books often have errors in the first edition which are corrected in subsequent printings.

  11. Chris1982

    The extended version of Gods & Generals is great!

    But too bad Antietam was so short and some minor scenes are still missing. They could have added those deleted scenes as special features IMO.

  12. tonight I watch both G&G & Gettysburg (Close, but no cigar) at the same time!!!

    G&G on my Blu ray player with 1080p/60 HDTV with 7.2 DTS Surround & CbnC on my Computer Blu ray drive hooked up to my 56″ 1080p HDTV ENGLISH subtitles…both are in my den…

    with Cuban Rum & Cuban cigar…”I’m NOT a smuggler, I’m a free trader!”

  13. Wes M.

    I am so thankful the years of speculation as to whether Gods and Generals would receive an extended version release by Warner Bros. have finally come to an end. Many of us wondered if it would ever happen. There was much anticipation and desire on the part of fans because of the few screenings around the country of the extended cut over the last few years and because of the entire screenplay printed in the indispensable book “Gods and Generals: The Illustrated Story of the Epic Civil War Film” published by Newmarket Press.

    I am thankful to Ron Maxwell and any others involved in the entire process of releasing the new re-edited extended cut of Gods and Generals. I can imagine it must have been very difficult to remove so many wonderful scenes from the theatrical cut back in 2003. I have been a huge fan of the theatrical version but I love this new new extended cut 10 times more.

    By the way, don’t read my feedback here on the new extended director’s cut if you have not seen it yet! Enjoy the film spoiler free!

    I like the new 5 part structure of the film in five acts. As Ron Maxwell, mentions in the new introduction on the disc, it provides a suggested pattern for watching the film. Even those of us who love this film need to stop it a few times for a break or to watch over a couple of nights. A whole hour of new scenes are added but several scenes have been shifted in sequence and modified. In the theatrical cut, Jackson gives the speech to some soldiers about Virgina governor John Letcher’s response to the Lincoln administration’s request for 3 regiments (“tell them we have done so!”) before the scene when he surveys the soldiers training and asks Prof. White if his students are “making the transition from books to bullets.” Now the scene comes right before that beautiful shot of the Shenandoah when Pendleton reads the orders for them to depart. Also, the scene of Chamberlain and Kilrain’s meeting is placed so that it it clear that they are near Sharpsburg indicating more time has passed since they left Camp Mason in Maine. Before, I always thought that discussion took place at Camp Mason perhaps a day or two after Joshua Chamberlain arrived. Speaking of the Camp Mason scene, the extended version of this scene is brilliant and a joy to watch. The “school of the soldier” is extended as we see more marching, soldiers receiving their blue uniforms and hardtack, and the 9 steps to loading a musket. Matt Letscher (who plays Col. Adelbert Ames) gives a fantastic performance. I’m really glad he has more scenes in the extended version. His body language, manner of speaking, and brilliant accent work all convey that Ames is from Maine and his been in the army for a long time. No doubt he worked closely with dialect coach Robert Easton (who incidentally also plays the Speaker of the House in Virginia who introduces Lee in the beginning of the film).

    Chris Connor is brilliant as John Wilkes Booth. His delivery of the monologues from Hamlet and MacBeth are riveting. Ron Maxwell’s research of where Booth was at various times during these early years of the war (actually performing the role of Hamlet on the same day as the battle at Antietam creek) and creative writing of the scenes and Chris Connor’s delivery as well as the outstanding production design team work on the theater sets and Booth’s backstage makeup room, we are treated to compelling drama which make for some of the best new scenes in this cut.

    Another brilliant scene is the scene of camp life at night when Doctor Maguire, Sandy Pendleton, Morrison and others entertain each other from the book of puns and when Jackson receives a new uniform. The scene has nice music and gives the viewer more insights into what camp life was like for soldiers during the war. As Prof. Robertson emeritus of Virginia Tech explains on the commentary track, most of their time was spent in scenes such as this. We also see more of Jim Lewis and his free black colleague and get an insight into what camp life was like for them.

    Many original scenes are extended by a few beats as well. However, I took notice of a few scenes that were either modified or removed all together. As Greg mentions in his review, Jackson’s prayer before the Manassas battle has been removed as well as part of the score as Jackson’s men emerge from the trees and onto the field which increases the pace of the film. Many DVDs and blu-rays have deleted scenes in the special features sections. Why are they usually deleted? Often because of time constraints or because they slow the pace of the story and that appears to be the case here. I also noticed as Greg did that Martha’s (Donzaleigh Abernathy) line is changed from “praise be, it’s young John” to “praise be, it’s Master John.” When you are a devoted fan of a film, you notice small changes like that! 🙂 I can just imagine people who don’t care rolling their eyes that we would notice that.

    Some of the other changes:
    -Near the beginning of the film, as the Beale sons leave their home in Fredericksburg, Lucy Beale’s lines “I know a thousand brothers from a thousand homes are leaving mother. But I have never felt sadder in my life” has been removed.
    -The discussion between Jackson and Rev. Jenkins and Private Jenkins has been shortened. Jackson’s lines removed: “As a Christian man, my first allegiance is to God. Then, to my state, the state of Viriginia.
    -the score as the Union battalion listens to the letter read out loud from President Lincoln has been removed slightly. It starts as Kilrain comments on what they have just heard.
    -The scene inside of the Beale home after it has been requisitioned for a hospital is modified. Martha does not quote from the book of Esther and the score (“Go to their graves like beds” on the soundtrack) has been removed. Instead, their is a soft underscore of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor Pathétique. This is the piece Lucy Beale performs for her family in the earlier scene.
    -A couple of scenes included on the bonus dvd with the soundtrack were not inserted into the extended cut. Perhaps this was because they would have slowed the paced of the film. Fanny and Joshua singing Kathleen Mavourneen and the Irish immigrant’s camp song.

    Did anyone else notice any other changes?

    I am happy overall with the changes made to this new extended cut, both the new scenes and the modified scenes from the theatrical cut. I hope it will be the definitive version and that it will be purchased by many and seen by many in the coming years! My sincere thanks to Ron Maxwell for directing this film and to all of the actors and crew involved in bringing it to fruition!

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