What to watch tonight: Gettysburg/History Channel 9 Eastern

30 May

The reviews are mixed, but I can think of no better way to cap off Memorial Day than to watch this new film about the pivotal battle in the Civil War.

From San Francisco Gateway:

While so many Civil War documentaries look about as realistic as a bunch of suburbanites dressed in costumes from the high school drama department, “Gettysburg” throbs with realism.

And from the New York Daily News:

What it’s not, however, is the kind of Civil War documentary that Ken Burns did for PBS. While experts weigh in, this is not a scholarly narration with pristine, understated music, extended views of still photographs and an academic tone.

This is dramatized, live-action scenes of bullets ripping into chests, leaving tattered uniforms, splashing blood and a slow-motion backward lurch to a final resting place.

Nor do Hoogstra or History apologize for this approach, which isn’t quite the campy, stylized bloodfests of “300” or “Spartacus” but goes well beyond Burns.

It looks to be worth watching.


Damn! That was the best military history re-enactment I’ve ever seen. I expect that you can catch it again within the near future.

The absolute horror of the many battles, the missed opportunities, the advance of weapons technology preceding the advance of medical and communications techology and the absolute butchery of thousands within the course of 3 days was painstakingly portrayed.

It was punctuated with Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which you all know, was less than 2 minutes long, as there were really no words to describe what happened on those few days in July of 1863, but the epic event could not pass unnoticed.

Sometimes Presidents need to learn that few words are more powerful than long-winded soliloquys full of self praise, false humility, manufactured empathy and phony emotional grandstanding.

I can assure you that the world will little note, nor long remember what President Obama says. They may forever shake their fist at what he did, but his is the talk of street hustling bums.

Here’s the entire text of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which will be remembered long after we’ve forgotten President Puny.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


Posted by on May 30, 2011 in politics


6 responses to “What to watch tonight: Gettysburg/History Channel 9 Eastern

  1. Steve

    May 30, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    A good presentation. But the telegraph was the work of Samuel F. B. Morse, not “Morris.” The sound of telegraphy in the Civil War would not have sounded like a (700 hz) “beep,” but rather as the sharp clicking of two pieces of metal hitting together – for that’s exactly what it was. Finally, the code used in the program should have been American Morse Code, certainly NOT the International Morse Code that does not appear until much later in the 20th century.

  2. Steve

    May 30, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Your remarks about President Obama are simply childish and racist (“Street bum”). Grow up.

    • P. Henry Saddleburr

      May 30, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      Sorry Steve. I meant ‘street hustler’, aka, ‘Community Organizer’. I don’t care what race he is.

      Thanks for your comments.

  3. Chris

    May 31, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Was looking foward to watching this show but after the first hour and half I was asking how did they leave so much out? I am not sure if they wanted to tell the story of lesser known people and units or that so much of what happened in the battle is still lying on the cutting room floor. No mention of Reanolds or Sheridan, Little round top and Chamberlin, Not even a gasp about Hood. How can so much be left out and still give a history of the battle?

  4. Joe McCauley

    May 31, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Was this show done by Sam Pechinpah?
    Blood and guts seemed to overwhelm any thorough telling of the battles. A real disappointment.

  5. Shaun Kenney

    June 1, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Can’t wait for it to come out on DVD!


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