It’s been nearly three years since my last post about Gods and Generals. If you go way back, you may remember my 2011 series when I blogged about the release of the highly anticipated extended director’s cut. This past July was the fifth anniversary of when I was invited to Manassas, Virginia by Warner Brothers to cover the official premiere at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. It was one of the defining moments of my life, and I am proud to call friends a few actors who I watched on-screen since my childhood. Anyway, I have actually stumbled onto some new footage. You’ve probably never seen it. Heck, anyone aside from director Ron Maxwell and those in the editing room probably haven’t seen it. Except for James Horan, who played Col. Arthur Cummings in the First Manassass battle scene. I was looking over some of my old work (I interviewed him in September of 2011; one of many cast and crew members I had the pleasure of speaking to in my blogging adventures) and one thing led to another, and I was on Horan’s website. I started watching a highlight reel of his acting, and lo and behold, there was a clip from Gods and Generals I had never seen before.
Yes, we are still keeping tabs on everything Gods and Generals here, and it is very happily that I announce that several previously unreleased pieces from the film’s soundtrack are now available on YouTube, and with crystal-clear clarity. The person who has put these up on his account cites “connections at the studio” as the reason he was able to have access to this. Just this past summer, it appeared that a full-length soundtrack for the film (eclipsing three hours) was going to be released on CD. There was a website that was forwarded to me by a colleague which included a track list of more than 40, spanning three discs—there was even a cover art design. I immediately contacted director Ron Maxwell asking if this was legitimate or not, and unfortunately, he said it was nothing but piracy. MP3’s of all the songs appeared to be available for download on that same site, but my McAfee virus warning kept coming up, so I never shared it publicly.
Hello Gods and Generals fans, it’s been a while since I wrote anything on one of our favorite films, so I just wanted to share this resource with you. How many times have I watched this movie, maybe 30 or 40 all together, including full viewings and clips from when I teach? I’ve also written nearly 60 articles on the film and conducted many interviews with cast and crew members. That said, I must admit, even I did not pay such close attention to detail as the website I am about to show you did. Titled Movie-Censorship (strange title, I know), this website does scene-by-scene comparisons of films in both their original and extended cuts, down to, literally, the slightest detail. The mega-site happened to do one for Gods and Generals, and while we all know of the major changes that were made in 2011 to the 2003 theatrical version, there are many other little things that you probably would not have even noticed. Please click here to check out the site.
Just a few moments ago, I heard back from Donald Eaton, who served as First Assistant Director for Gods and Generals, and whom I interviewed the other day. He sent me a rather large follow-up response to our interview, throwing some more information our way about what went on behind the scenes, as well as his works on some Civil War books of his own. Unbeknownst to me, he is actually an accomplished author, as well as having more than thirty years in the film and television industry. He received a Google Alert on his computer when the link to our interview went up, which prompted him to tell me, “I had no idea how extensive [your blog] was. Congratulations on your efforts and hard work”, as well as send the following message. He invited me to share it with all of you if I wanted, and I thought it was very interesting, so here it is. The rest of this article is his words, even though presented in plain text—I just did not want to italicize something that long. Please enjoy, because it is some really good stuff!
I thought we would take a tiny break on this blog from all the Copperhead coverage, and what better way to do that than by posting an interview with a crew member from Gods and Generals? Yes, friends, just when you thought we could not find one more person involved with the film that was willing to tell of their experiences, I was able to come into contact with Donald Eaton, who served as the First Assistant Director to Ron Maxwell during the production. I asked him for an interview, and he most graciously agreed. Donald has been involved in the industry since the early 1980’s, when he worked on several very popular television series, notably Hart to Hart, Paper Dolls, and Moonlighting. All told, he has lended his services to nearly fifty movies or television specials, including a Hallmark film called The Love Letter in 1998, which also involved the Civil War. Of course, the one we are most interested in is Gods and Generals.
First off, I would like to welcome all of you to the Gods and Generals Trivia Contest, here on FNYTSF, the first of its kind to ever take place on this blog, as today, we celebrate our two-year anniversary. These questions may seem pretty tough, especially if you have not read through all of the interviews previously, but since we have a couple of great prizes, I had to have some degree of difficulty here. Every single answer can be found amongst the interviews conducted with cast members of both Gods and Generals and Gettysburg. To make it easier, all of them are located in the archive, which has a tab at the top of the page.
Because I anticipate more than two people will get 100% correct, we cannot have the highest percentage automatically win the prize. So, to become eligible to win, you must get 80% of the questions correct. In doing so, your name will be placed inside a kepi and the winners will be pulled two weeks from today, on March 27. Second place will receive an autographed picture of Fred Griffith, who played General Robert Rodes, while first place will get an autograph of Patrick Gorman, who was General John Bell Hood in both films. You can submit your answers to my email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject clearly labeled GODS AND GENERALS TRIVIA CONTEST. Also include your full name somewhere in the email or subject. Please do not post your answers in the comment section below! Upon getting your email, you will be sent confirmation that your answers have been received. The questions are below:
As announced previously, we will be having our first ever history-related trivia contest on this blog as we celebrate our two-year anniversary this week, on Tuesday, March 13. The subject of the contest will be the film Gods and Generals (as well as Gettysburg), as that is what has been blogged about most often here. The questions have been selected, and let me tell you, it might not exactly be a walk in the park, even for the most die-hard of fans! However, there are some very cool prizes that await you if you are up to the challenge, which are autographs from Patrick Gorman and Fred Griffith, two cast-members from the film. Once again, I would like to thank them for their generosity in donating these pictures.
In case you want to refresh your memory with some of the interviews, they are all located in the Gods and Generals Archive. There will be ten questions coming from there, so you might want to browse through them again. I think this will be a lot of fun, and I will see you all on Tuesday!
There are some interviews which just find a way to you and work themselves out on their own. Case in point, this one with film and television actor Fred Griffith (Brig. Gen. Robert Rodes, CSA), who upon reading my announcement regarding the Gods and Generals themed trivia contest we will be having here in March, contacted me and offered to donate an autograph for one of the prizes or conduct an interview. Surprised by this generosity, I took him up on both his offers, and here we are, learning of the filming experiences of yet another G & G cast-member. Though he did not have any lines in the film, he had plenty of screen-time and proved to be a tremendous presence working alongside Stephen Lang. Fred told me on Facebook, “Rodes did have lines in the original 250 page script, which I read! Welcome to Hollywood!”
Nevertheless, someone thought very highly of his role (his “big break”, as he calls it), because very soon after, he landed guest appearances on the hit TV shows Judging Amy, The District, and 24, and since Gods and Generals, he has appeared in ten films (including the Civil War related The Last Confederate: The Story of Robert Adams), with four more closing production in the coming months. I guess sometimes it pays to be a quiet cavalry officer! I asked him about his filming experiences and more in our conversation below:
On March 13, this blog will be celebrating it’s two year anniversary, and so I thought that would be the perfect occasion for us to have our very first trivia contest! Being that the Gods and Generals Extended Director’s Cut has been such a prominent topic here, the trivia questions will be related to the film. There will be 10, maybe 15 questions, with every answer findable on this site, whether in the many interviews or opinion and news articles located in the archive and Civil War section. Actor Patrick Gorman, who played Confederate General John Bell Hood, in both this film and Gettysburg, has kindly agreed to donate an autographed picture, which will be our grand prize.
Since released in May, the director’s cut releases of both Gods and Generals and Gettysburg have garnered rave reviews, as the missing pieces of the enormous puzzles were finally put in place and made available to the general public. In many articles, we have read that sales figures for these two films have been good, but just how good, exactly? After browsing on Blu-Ray.Com, which has become a daily read for me, I just happened to scroll down the right side of the page to view the top-sellers for the United States, and lo and behold, there was the Limited Collector’s Set of both films that was released in July, sitting at #3 overall (with a total, worldwide sales rank of 23). This definitely came as a pleasant surprise, if not complete shock. This was no mirage or speculation, but actual statistics detailing the success of these two films. The LCS also currently sits at #1 on Blu-Ray.Com’s best bargains list, where you can now purchase the massive boxed set, loaded with extra goodies, for only $36.49