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15 April 2011


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As far as them being long in the tooth, how many civil war movies are made per decade?

A few more pro-Southern civil war movies are, "Shenandoah," "Gods and Generals," and "The General" (even longer in the tooth).

Conversely, how many Hollywood movies take the Northern view in the civil war?

Against the 5 pro-Southern examples cited so far, I can think of "Glory" and maybe "The Red Badge of Courage".

That might be evidence of romanticism about the South.


Well, The Outlaw Josey Wales, and anything featuring Jessie James.

Although that's not necessarily pro southern bias, just that loosing a war offers more possibilities for drama than winning it.

Medicine Man

If anything, Hollywood is biased against good taste. They're going to film Citizen Kane in 3D.


Col: There is a bias for the Confederacy.....because the Confederate leaders were more interesting!

Compare Meade or Thomas to A.P. Hill or Stonewall Jackson. Case closed.


Ms. Hornady is a closet authoritarian.

She also implies Two wrongs make a right:

"To make his point, Redford skirts a few crucial realities, not the least of which is that Surratt’s treatment in the civil court of her day probably wouldn’t have been much better."

Says who?


lost causes make for great drama.

here's a list that might help us aged ones recall some classics...

Maureen Lang


I've long entertained the hope that one day a really good film dealing with the War Between The States in an unvarnished & above all skillful fashion will be made. "Glory" came close for me, but still no cigar. Have read several reviews now of "The Conspirator"- this obviously isn't it either.

...Something along the lines of a film (or perhaps televised miniseries) scripted from your CSS novels & directed by a top-notch director like Ridley Scott...

As to any actual value for the moviegoer to be found in Hornaday's review- she lost my attention right out of the box by dismissing GWTW's "noxious racism," a film that contains Hattie McDaniel's superbly nuanced Oscar winning performance.


"Col: There is a bias for the Confederacy.....because the Confederate leaders were more interesting!"

You’d never guess it from Gods and Generals. I didn’t think it was possible to make Stonewall Jackson and Chancellorsville boring, but live and learn.

Raintree County would qualify as a Yankee movie, with its Northern – Midwestern, to be specific – protagonist trapped into marriage by a Southern belle nutjob anti-heroine. On the other hand the story has little in the way of political dimension.

Alleged Southern bias aside, I wonder if it would be as easy to dramatize the Union victory with full-throated triumphalism as some people seem to believe.

anna missed

As far as Hollywood depictions of the South in film goes, I think the 1938 Jezebel is most interesting. Although it all happens (just) before the war, the film is ripe with actual and metaphoric depictions of the mentality of both the North and the South - played out through the Betty Davis (South) and Henry Fonda (North) characters. Through the character of Julie, Davis acts out the full spectrum of stereotypical Southern personality come cultural flaws against the foil of the Fonda characters personality strengths that are grounded more in objectivity compared to the emotional spectacles of Julie.
Interestingly, in the end it's the Davis character that triumphs over her (most liberal) rival Amy, through her superior commitment of willing martyrdom.

Patrick Lang


I hope for the same thing. Ridley Scott would be my choice as well. Did you like "Ride With the Devil?" pl

Patrick Lang


I was at Jackson Memorial Hall at VMI for the premiere of that abomination. Seated next to Stehen Lang, Robertson and the director, I could only bite my tongue at the pablumization. It seems to be accepted that the Confederate generation must be represented as 2 dimensional cut-outs lest they seem to be real people. pl



After greatly enjoying the first two installments of your CW epic, I look forward to the third. I hope it is going well in its creation.

Maureen Lang


I definitely did like it, but once again, no cigar imo. Still, Ang Lee can indeed be added to my very short list of CSS dream directors, which also includes Alfonso Cuarón who directed "Children of Men."


Verily, I am weary of the, as a broad generalization, the North's eternal smugness and superiority.

But it is nothing, nothing, compared to the weariness I feel at the South's eternal sense of self righteous victimization.

Mark Logan


A bit off topic, but related to the WBS. Something I came across in knocking around in the history that I thought might interest you, if you were not already aware of it.

In the library of Congress, there are 23 audio recordings of the voices of slaves. One of them, George Johnson, relates the tale of how Jefferson Davis's plantation was saved. One of his slaves came up with the idea of Jeff Davis freeing him, and transferring the title to him so the "Yankies" wouldn't destroy it out of spite.

Here's the text of the recording.


responding to Matthew;
I think Grant, Sheridan and Sherman were pretty interesting.

Patrick Lang


600,000 Union men died or were wounded because they felt much the same way. I presume that it was worth it. Confederates? Not so many, but they still ran out of men. pl

John Kirkman

Robert Redford, in an interview about his movie “The Conspirator” was quoted in Parade Magazine as saying “And one of the biggest patterns I’ve noticed is that wherever there’s chaos, there’s ambiguity, and where there’s ambiguity, there’s fear. And fear gets manipulated.” I haven’t seen the movie, nor will I, since that history is well known, at least in the North.
As in the fear “the Russians are coming” and so on that proved Ike was right about the military industrial complex which has become our country’s biggest threat, the hysteria over religious affiliations and racial divisions among the Tea Party faithful, and the now certain spectacle of the Denizens of DC setting the country up for another Civil War of sorts.
As to our savage Civil War it more or less ended at Gettysburg where I lost relatives on both sides, but the more interesting Sargent in our family graveyard is an Irishman who finished up alive and made rank in the process. It wasn’t until I mistakenly purchased some property in Savannah, and discovered that war hadn’t actually ended, that I also discovered that wise slaveholders there preferred to work the Irish at the really tough jobs and spare their slaves for lighter details.
Fortunately the slaveholders lost that war or we might be speaking German now, and I’m always amazed that people can find romance in the slaughter of war. I once took my youngest daughter to Andersonville in the middle of the richest agricultural land in Georgia where on General Lee’s watch many thousands of captured soldiers were starved to death. My daughter noted that the most prominent feature of civilian Andersonville is a monument to the glorious soldiers of the Confederacy.


What about Killer Angels?

When you smear away myth and find men Joshua Chamberlain is hard to beat.

Must have been one hell of a man.

Patrick Lang


I am curious to know if you are aware that many
Confederate soldiers died in Union PW camps?

"Numbers And Mortality Rate In Prisons

Army.................Total......Paroled*.....Imprisoned.....Died and % Died

Also, the proximate cause of the starvation at Andersonville was Grant's refusal in 1864 to continue the process of exchange. pl


A pro Confederate bias? How many movies beatify/deify Lincoln? Movies like "Gettysburg" can at best be said to not have an anti-southern bias. But hardly pro-southern. I mean, half the movie was about the defense of Little Round Top.

As for portrayals of Gen Lee and his colleagues, It is not Hollywood's fault that the Confederacy had better Generals.

joseph Moroco

I'm sorry Mr. Kirkman, that we'd all be speaking German now stuff is not well thought out. If Woody had not gotten us into WWI, Dolph would have died raving in a Bavarian old soldiers' home.


Now THOSE men...who fought, and or who died in the War, I respect profoundly. The courage and endurance, and, often (not all the time, but often)the stoicism overwhelmed me as I read Shelby Foote's stunning masterpiece.

But we are a LONG way from those kind of men anymore.

That is not to denigrate the men and women, and their families, serving now. But I will still stand by what I wrote.


Col., when considering potential directors, what would you think of Clint Eastwood?

Patrick Lang


He would be high on my list although I think that Americans are so loaded up with biases about the war that I incline toward Brits, Australians, etc. On the other hand his two Iwo Jima movies show me a lot and his ability to transmit real personality states is impressive. pl

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