Ridley Scott’s “Gettysburg”: Edutainment

A documentary from the History Channel that I overlooked this year: A fancified take on the battle of Gettysburg, with bloody cinematic illustration and some pretty appalling acting. It had some promise, but tended to concentrate and linger upon some moments (Amos Humiston, for one, is a long time dying) while entirely ignoring others. If you can believe it, there was not a single mention of John Buford, James Longstreet, Little Round Top, or Winfield Hancock, and even Lee gets short shrift. While there is a brief recreation of the fight at The Angle that is pretty impressive, the rest of the film is all flash, little substance. Sadly, I can’t recommend this one.

(I also watched the PBS documentary on Napoleon today, and while it’s far less Civil War based – unless you count an ovrview of the tactics that so influenced the American generals and David McCullough’s warm and familiar narrative style – it is a fantastically entertaining survey of the Emperor’s life and deeds.)

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