Gods and Generals (2003)

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    • Gods and Generals (2003)

      GODS AND GENERALS

      DIRECTED BY DONALD F. MAXWELL
      ANTIETAM FILMWORKS
      TURNER PICTURES
      WARNER BROS. PICTURES




      Information from IMDb

      Plot Summary
      The rise and fall of legendary war hero Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
      as he leads the Confederacy to great success against the Union from 1861 to 1863.
      Prequel to the 1993 classic "Gettysburg"

      Full Cast
      Donzaleigh Abernathy ... Martha
      Mark Aldrich ... Adjutant
      George Allen ... Confederate Officer
      Keith Allison ... Capt. James J. White
      Royce D. Applegate ... Brig. Gen. James Kemper (as Royce Applegate)
      Bruce Boxleitner ... Lt. Gen. James Longstreet
      Bo Brinkman ... Maj. Walter Taylor
      Mac Butler ... Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker
      Robert Byrd ... Confederate General (as Robert C. Byrd)
      Shane Callahan ... Bowdoin Student
      Billy Campbell ... Maj. Gen. George Pickett
      David Carpenter ... Rev. Beverly Tucker Lacy
      John Castle ... Old Penn
      Jim Choate ... Brig. Gen. Bernard Bee
      Martin Clark ... Dr. George Junkin
      Christopher Clawson ... Charles Beale (as Chris Clawson)
      Kevin Conway ... Sgt. Buster Kilrain
      Scott Cooper ... Lt. Joseph Morrison
      Devon Cromwell ... Cadet Charlie Norris
      Ryan Cutrona ... Brig. Gen. Marsena Patrick
      Jeff Daniels ... Lt. Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
      Scott Davidson ... Sam Beale
      Mia Dillon ... Jane Beale
      Justin Dray ... George Jenkins
      Robert Duvall ... Gen. Robert E. Lee
      Robert Easton ... John Janney
      Frankie Faison ... Jim Lewis
      Miles Fisher ... John Beale
      Keith Flippen ... Maj. Gilmore
      Bourke Floyd ... Longstreet's Courier
      David Foster ... Capt. Ricketts
      Dennis E. Frye ... Griffin's Aide
      Joseph Fuqua ... Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart
      James Garrett ... Brig. Gen. John Curtis Caldwell
      Karen Starc ... Lucy Beale (as Karen Goberman)
      Alexander Gordon ... Martha's Older Son
      Patrick Gorman ... Maj. Gen. John Bell Hood
      Phil Gramm ... Virginia Delegate
      Bo Greigh ... Pvt. Pogue
      Fred Griffith ... Brig. Gen. Robert Rodes
      Karen Hochstetter ... Roberta Corbin
      James Horan ... Col. Cummings
      Conn Horgan ... Pvt. Dooley (as Con Horgan)
      C. Thomas Howell ... Sgt. Thomas Chamberlain
      Ben Hulan ... A Lieutenant
      Sam Hulsey ... Julian Beale
      Alex Hyde-White ... Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside
      Lydia Jordan ... Jane Corbin
      Charles Lester Kinsolving ... Brig. Gen. William Barksdale (as Les Kinsolving)
      Damon Kirsche ... Harry McCarthy
      Lew Knopp ... Jackson's Courier
      Stephen Lang ... Lt. Gen. Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson
      James Thomas Lawler ... Another Looter
      Matt Letscher ... Col. Adelbert Ames
      Matt Lindquist ... Johann Heros Von Borcke
      Jeremy London ... Capt. Alexander 'Sandie' Pendleton
      Doug Lory ... 2nd Irishman
      Brian Mallon ... Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock
      Dan Manning ... Maj. John Harman
      Edward Markey ... Irish Brigade Officer
      Thomas B. Mason ... Old Man in Fredericksburg
      Jonathan Maxwell ... Capt. Ellis Spear
      Malachy McCourt ... Francis Preston Blair, Jr.
      Terry McCrea ... A Captain
      Andrew McOmber II ... Young Corporal
      Rosemary Meacham ... Hattie
      Ted Turner ... Col. Tazewell Patton (as R.E. Turner)
      and many, many more....

      Produced
      Suzanne Arden .... associate producer
      Moctesuma Esparza .... executive producer
      Dennis E. Frye .... associate producer
      Nick Grillo .... co-producer
      Robert Katz .... executive producer
      Ronald F. Maxwell .... producer
      Mace Neufeld .... executive producer
      Robert Rehme .... executive producer
      Jeff Shaara .... associate producer
      Ronald G. Smith .... co-executive producer
      Ted Turner .... executive producer
      Robert J. Wussler .... associate executive producer

      Writing Credits
      Jeff Shaara (book) (as Jeffrey M. Shaara)
      Ronald F. Maxwell (screenplay)

      Original Music
      Randy Edelman
      John Frizzell

      Cinematography
      Kees Van Oostrum

      Trivia
      Cameo
      Jeff Daniels reprised the role of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain from Gettysburg. Tom Berenger had been asked to reprise the role of James Longstreet.

      Martin Sheen was asked to reprise his role of Robert E. Lee from Gettysburg, but could not due to commitment to The West Wing. The role was given to Robert Duvall, who is actually a descendant of Lee.

      The toothless old man who greets Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson as they enter Fredericksburg with the line "Yankees evawhere, evawhere!" is a wink to the film's predecessor, Gettysburg, which was produced ten years earlier. In it, there is a scene where Buford rides into Gettysburg and is greeted by a similarly toothless old man who shouts, "Johnny Rebs evawhere, evawhere!" The scene was deleted from the final print and is only available on TV broadcasts and the expanded director's edition.

      The scenes of Jackson and his students leaving VMI early on in the film and Jackson's funeral procession back to VMI at the end were both filmed on the same day.

      The last scene of the movie was Jackson's casket laying in his classroom at VMI, as the camera slowly pulls back to reveal his wife, child and students. This scene was actually filmed but deleted from the theatrical cut, as well as the DVD.

      Stephen Lang also appeared in Gettysburg. However, he does not reprise his original role from "Gettysburg", that of Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett. Instead, he plays Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, who died two months prior to the momentous clash in Gettysburg. Billy Campbell took over the role of Pickett.

      Media mogul Ted Turner put up the entire $60-million budget of the film personally.

      The majority of the Civil War re-enactors in the movie volunteered to be in the movie without pay. In return, the production company agreed to donate at least $500,000 to preservation of a Civil War battlefield.

      Around 200 of the re-enactors were employed as a "Core Company" to be available for filming six days a week, 24 hours a day. They were the only re-enactors who were paid for taking part in the movie.
      Share this
      The intermission was actually included in the print and was almost an entire reel of black film. Theaters added light cues at the beginning and end of it.

      Portions of the movie were filmed on location at the Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Modern fixtures (such as the window air conditioners on Washington and Lee buildings) were digitally edited out.

      Some of the re-enactors used as extras for the film portrayed both Union and Confederate soldiers. Therefore, during some scenes, the same soldiers can be seen shooting at themselves.

      All of the Union soldiers who are killed during the movie do not have the standard issue Ronald F. Maxwell knew who was a stunt man.

      Although Robert E. Lee was a highly regarded officer in the American army, his dislike of slavery and rather lukewarm approach to the issue of secession combined with some early reverses while in command of the Virginia militia caused him to not be considered for field command in the Confederate army. He was instead made an advisor to Jefferson Davis. He was named to command the Confederate army outside of Richmond in 1862 when Gen. Joseph Johnston was wounded, because Davis disliked Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard and did not want him in command.

      While we know Jackson by his nickname "Stonewall", his men usually referred to him as "Old Jack". His students at VMI referred to him as "Tom Fool" because of his stiff necked and pedantic style of teaching.

      The film mostly omits a few of General Jackson's eccentricities, but makes sly reference to them. The real Stonewall Jackson rode with a hand raised at all times, as he felt it was necessary to balance his bodily humors. In the film, Jackson suffers a wound to one hand, and spends a scene riding in that manner, ostensibly to staunch the bleeding. In addition, the real Jackson - according to legend - sucked on lemons incessantly in the belief that it was essential to his health. In the film, he presents lemons as a gift to the fiancée of his junior officer, and enjoys the resultant lemonade for its tartness.

      Some scenes were filmed on Robert Duvall's estate in Virginia, which was the site of some Civil War skirmishes.

      During filming, a large portion of the re-enactors and military advisors were recalled to their military units in the weeks following the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001 and the later invasion of Afghanistan.

      The wide shots (or "reveal shots") of the Union infantry advancing towards the stone wall during the Battle of Fredericksburg were not set up or filmed as special effects shots. However, due to the terrorist attacks on the US of 11 September 2001 and the subsequent travel concerns and military-reserve call-ups, the film's re-enacting unit had drastically shrunk in number. This was not fully evident until the wide shots were viewed in post-production. Visual effects supervisor Thomas G. Smith had to digitally create over 17,000 low-resolution CGI-3D soldiers, and then map out individual speeds for them: running, walking, or crawling wounded. He then added 3,000 dead soldiers to scatter around the shot.

      The introduction scene of the 20th Maine, when Ames and Gilmore walk up and chide Chamberlain and the recruits, was shot on 11 September 2001.

      Kevin Conway often refers to reprising his character of Sgt. Buster Kilrain in this film as being part of the reason he turned down a supporting role in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which would have prevented him from shooting this film.

      The exterior scenes of Burnside's winter headquarters had to be re-shot several months after filming wrapped, during the early summer; some of the fake snow was digitally added in post-production.
      Share this
      The scene where the Union and Confederate privates cross the river to exchange gifts was the final scene of the movie to be shot.

      Mira Sorvino was one of the first members of the cast to sign onto the project. Director Ronald F. Maxwell had originally cast her (and become a huge fan of her acting ability) as Joan of Arc for his film Joan of Arc: The Virgin Warrior (2007). When that film was halted in pre-production and postponed, he felt obliged to offer her a role in his next film to be greenlit, "Gods and Generals".

      The first choice to play Stonewall Jackson was Russell Crowe. Crowe expressed initial interest but eventually declined, citing a need to return to Australia and take a break from movie making. Jackson's role was then offered to Stephen Lang, who was already signed and rehearsing to reprise his character of Gen. George Pickett.

      Originally given an R rating by the MPAA for extended battlefield violence and gore. Director Ronald F. Maxwell either shortened or cut out entirely the most objectionable scenes in order to get the film down to a PG-13 rating.

      Randy Edelman was one of the first crew members to be hired by Ronald F. Maxwell, nearly two years before the film's release. Because of this delay he had to back out due to a mounting schedule, but had already composed some themes. It was Edelman who recommended John Frizzell take over. Frizzell, in addition to writing the majority of the film's music, also was given the task of orchestrating and recording Edelman's portion of the score.

      Ronald F. Maxwell spent all of 2002 editing, re-editing, test screening and touching up the film. It went from six hours to three hours and five minutes, to three hours and 37 minutes time and again.

      An entire subplot involving John Wilkes Booth and his actor friend Henry T. Harrison (from Gettysburg) had to be cut from the film in order to get a wide release. The entire battle of Antietam was also deleted. In all, nearly 2-1/2 hours of the film never made it to final print.

      Contains some cameo appearances by American politicians. According to a report on CNN.com, Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV) and George Allen (R-VA), Reps. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), as well as former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), all make small appearances in this film. "Wet plate" photographs of these politicians in full Civil War attire are available online.

      In the opening credits, the appearance of the flags indicates a special significance for some cast and crew. For example, Jeff Daniels (as Lt. Col Chamberlain of Maine) appears over a banner for the 20th Maine, Robert Duvall (Gen. Robert E. Lee of Virginia) appears over a Virginia banner, and Ted Turner (a longtime resident of Atlanta, Georgia) appears over a Georgia flag.

      Jeff Shaara, the author of the book "Gods and Generals," (on which the movie is loosely based) appears in an uncredited cameo during the USO-type minstrel show, in the same scene where Ted Turner appears. Shaara appears very briefly as a mustachioed officer in the audience, with no lines.

      At the time of filming Stephen Lang at 50 years old was 12 years older than Stonewall Jackson, who was depicted at the ages 37-39 in the film.

      William Sanderson, portraying Gen. A. P. Hill, was 58 years old at the time of filming. A.P. Hill was 38 years old at Chancellorsville.

      The views of the town of Fredericksburg are not actually Fredericksburg. The picture is of unincorporated town Great Cacapon, WV, taken from the Panorama Overlook near Berkeley Springs, WV.

      Cameo
      Ted Turner: as Col. Waller T. Patton in the scene where the Confederate soldiers are watching the singer and dancer.

      Goofs
      Anachronisms
      During the first battle, a dead soldier is clearly wearing modern boots. A large "H" is visibly imprinted on the sole of the boot.

      Wristwatch visible on the confederate soldier nearest the camera in many of the Fredricksburg sections.

      While 20th Maine is lined up in loose formation in camp, soldier in front line is smoking or holding in his mouth a bent pipe. The pipe is a Peterson System, made in Dublin, the patent for which wasn't issued until 1894.

      Air conditioners are seen in the windows of W&L University at 10:32 into the film. They are located on the far left, which is Newcomb Hall, while the flag is waving in the foreground.

      Continuity
      During the Battle of Fredricksburg, at the storming of Marye's Heights, a confederate defender is seen being shot in the head (with blood shooting from under his hat.) Later on, he is seen being shot in the head again, this time, from a slightly different angle.

      As the 20th Maine is storming Marye's Heights, the flag bearer is seen being shot down, with the flag pole breaking in half. He has a green fig leaf tucked under his hat, right above his ear. This indicates that this is a shot taken from footage of the Irish Brigade's attack, since only the Irish soldiers wore these figs (and can be seen putting them on in a deleted scene on the soundtrack's extra features.)

      During the 20th Maine's advance on Marye's Heights, the sun's evening position is correctly shown in the western sky. However, during the retreat, the sun can be seen rising in the eastern sky.

      After Jackson is ambushed at night by his own men, the Union begins opening artillery fire on his aids as they rush him back to the road. During one such shot, artillery fires from left to right but in the subsequent shot, with the camera facing in the same direction, the shells from that same firing sequence are seen landing from right to left.

      When Ted Turner (Colonel Patton) speaks his only line in the movie, no one is sitting in front of him or the two actors to his right. However, in the previous and subsequent scenes, Generals Longstreet, Lee and Jackson are shown seated in front of Mr. Turner and his fellow actors.

      During the battle of Fredericksburg, it shows brigades charging one after another with a period in between each. However after each brigade is shown charging, the previous brigade seems to disappear from the field. Only a few soldiers are shown falling back, far too few to make up even the most devastated brigades.

      Just before the 3 deserters are shot we see the deserter nearest the camera get blindfolded with a narrow strip of cloth that barely covers his eyes. On the next shot of them his blindfold is a neatly folded piece of cloth a couple of inches wide.

      Watch Hancock's hairdo change during his visit to the Beale House after the Battle of Fredericksburg.

      Crew or equipment visible
      When the Beal brothers leave for war, the boom mic and set lights are reflected in their brass breast plates.

      Errors in geography
      When Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain looks through his binoculars before the Battle of Fredericksburg, he would have been standing on the north side of the Rappahannock River looking at the city towards the south. But the Point of View shot through the binoculars shows what would have been seen looking north from Maryes Heights.

      Factual errors
      Neither Lee nor Jackson were bearded at the start of the war. Lee had dark hair going gray and wore a drooping mustache of the type favored by army officers in the 1850s. He grew his well known beard while serving as Jefferson Davis's military advisor. Jackson was clean shaven and grew a beard later out of his well known disinterest in his personal grooming and appearance.

      When Jeb Stuart visits Jackson in his camp he introduces himself as a Lieutenant Colonel but he wears the shoulder boards of a full colonel which is a full rank higher (a lieutenant colonel wears a silver leaf while a full colonel displays an eagle). Later in the scene Jackson refers to him as "General Stuart".

      During the battle of Chancellorsville, A.P. Hill is introduced as Brigadier General, but he was a Major General for over a year by then.

      The text in the bottom of the screen calls Brigadier General Thomas R.R. Cobb's unit 'Irish Regiment', while Cobb commanded the 'Irish Brigade'.

      During the battle of Fredericksburg, St. Clair Augustine Mulholland was a major, not a Lt. Col. He commanded the 116th Pennsylvania, which was in Maegher's brigade, but not the brigade in total. Maegher made the charge on horseback, and did not 'protect the rear'.

      After General Jackson has handed over the stripe from his cap to Jane Corbin, he is from there on shown in his cap without the stripe. But in the scene where the deserters are executed he's wearing the cape with his stripe back on again.

      After the battle of Chancellorsville it began to rain; General Jackson wore a raincoat on the evening ride, this is shown in the film. After the General is struck and falls from his horse, dirt and dust fly from the ground. After Jackson was put onto the stretcher he was indeed dropped, but this was because the soldiers carrying him slipped in the mud, not because of gunfire.

      St Claire Mulhollands Regiment the 116th Pennsylvania is depicted leading the Irish Brigades charge on Maryes Heights, when it was the 28th Massachusetts. The 116th was the only regiment in the Irish Brigade to not have the famous Green Flag but had the state of Pennsylvania flag.

      Before the Battle of Fredricksburg the the Irish Brigades famous green flags were in the process of being replaced, the only regiment to have the green flag was the 28th Massachusetts. Days after the battle Gen. T.F. Meagher, commander of the Irish Brigade, had the new emerald flags presented at what is known as the "Deaths Dinner" while the deaths of their comrades were still fresh on their minds.

      The 20th Maine did not charge independently at Fredericksburg. It was part of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division of the 5th Corp of the Union Army. No lone regiment charge at the Confederate position without supporting regiments around it.

      The line from an obviously abridged version of Julius Caesar should be "Liberty, Freedom, tyranny is dead!" "Charity" was the spoken final word in the play in the film, which may have been intentional. It also gives the credits for the actors in the play "Julius Caesar," and spells Caesar incorrectly as "Ceasar."

      Miscellaneous
      There are a number of geographical, historical and factual errors in the representation of the details of the American Civil War.

      Revealing mistakes
      Rubber muskets and rubber bayonets are visible throughout the film.

      Although it is well concealed for the open field fighting shots, the Fredericksburg street-fighting scenes show the historical re-enactors shooting over the heads of the enemy, for safety reasons.

      The style of the stone wall at the sunken road in Fredericksburg is that of the 1930s reconstruction, not that of the original wall. (The stones are larger in cross-section in the reconstruction rather than the original flatter stones.)

      Confederate soldiers at Fredericksburg are shown using cotton bales as parts of fortifications, but cotton was not a Virginia crop, nor was Fredericksburg a shipping point for moving raw cotton to mills in the north.

      During the 20th Maine's running charge, at least one man falls a split-second before the explosion of the shell that is supposed to have downed him.

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Antietam Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Maryland, USA
      Baltimore, Maryland, USA
      Clear Spring, Maryland, USA
      Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
      Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, USA
      Jefferson County Courthouse, Charles Town, West Virginia, USA
      Leesburg, Virginia, USA
      Lexington, Virginia, USA
      Middletown, Maryland, USA
      Sharpsburg, Maryland, USA
      Staunton, Virginia, USA
      Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia, USA
      Virginia, USA
      Washington & Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, USA
      (Students of [then] Washington College raising confederate flag along with VMI cadets.)
      Winchester, Virginia, USA
      Best Wishes
      Keith
      London- England

      The post was edited 1 time, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Re: (New Review) Civil War Movies- Gods and Generals (2003)

      Gods and Generals is a 2003 American film based on the novel Gods and Generals by Jeffrey Shaara.
      It depicts events that take place prior to those shown in the 1993 film Gettysburg,
      which was based on The Killer Angels, a novel by Shaara's father, Michael.
      The film stars Stephen Lang as Stonewall Jackson,
      Jeff Daniels as Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and Robert Duvall as General Robert E. Lee.



      It was written and directed by Ronald F. Maxwell, who had previously written and directed
      Gettysburg in 1993. Media mogul Ted Turner provided the entire $56 million budget.

      User Review
      The critics are wrong,
      3 March 2003
      9/10
      Author: mholland from Boulder Creek, CA

      I've seen Gods and Generals twice, and I've enjoyed it both times. The critics I've read seem to object to the piety, the length, and lack of political correctness. It seems to have escaped them that the Civil War was fought in Victorian times, and that the Victorians were extremely pious and sentimental, not to mention hypocritical. However, this did not stop them from efficiently making war on their enemies. The movie caught this perfectly, with Jackson's assumption that God's will is his will -- the scene before the battle on Sunday, the contrast between his sentimental love of children and his 'Kill them all' about his enemies, the constant references to Bible verses ripped out of context. Regarding the length of the movie, all I can say is that I wasn't bored at all, or restless, just fascinated with what was happening on screen. I'm sure for MTV critics any movie over 90 minutes is epic.

      Regarding the lack of political correctness, which in my opinion is our modern version of hypocrisy (we can do anything we want as long as we call it by another name) I would like to point out that this is an attempt at a historical movie and that the Civil War was NOT fought to free the slaves, nor were many people in the North comfortable with the concept of a franchised Negro. And some slaves in the South were relatively well treated by their owners, not that they probably didn't want freedom, but they didn't particularly wish their masters ill. The system was set up so that everyone involved, slaves and masters, had something to lose by destroying the status quo, and that's a very difficult thing for people to do. It's easy for us now to say 'they should have freed the slaves' but if you knew that to free your slaves would beggar your children, would you be able to do it?

      As with Gettysburg, the battle scenes were impressive and awe-inspiring. And they made the strategy and tactics clear to the viewer which is a monumental achievement, not to mention showing the pure courage on both sides, going to probably death or dismemberment without flinching. I would have liked more about the Northern command struggles to balance the picture but I can see how tempting it was to show the Southern victories to balance the horrible defeat at Gettysburg -- and this picture is meant to be one of a trilogy. I can only hope that word of mouth defeats the critics and gets this movie the audience it deserves.
      Best Wishes
      Keith
      London- England

      The post was edited 1 time, last by ethanedwards ().