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Sonntag, 10. September 2017

WIP: American Civil War Civilians (also: Gettysburg[1993])

Here are the first few 28mm American Civil War civilians I'm painting for skirmish games with a narrative, namely the glorious Sharp Practice 2 of course. These rather fine minis are by Redoubt Enterprises. There are two more to come - a priest and another lady.

A few weeks ago instead of wargaming we met and watched the Gettysburg film from 1993. Here are a few (very few) thoughts on the film.

.) If white american dudes with beards are your thing, this is your film. Just kidding. Of course it's pretty much a given as this is about Gettysburg. It IS a stunning parade of beards though. Some real, some fake. Good thing is that when they're fake you see it well. (I'm looking at you, Jeb Stuart!)

.) Also: This Jeff Daniels is versatile, isn't he. You can throw him into anything and he'll work. Pretty cool.

The Director's Cut is just over 4 hours long (depicting all three days), there's a bunch of really good combat scenes featuring a LOT of people. No CG there, just proper, real things. Okay, many of the dudes seem to be awfully well fed and rather old compared to the average age of soldiers during the ACW. Lots of reenactors of course.

As far as I know it originally was planned to be made as a tv miniseries. Which is a format I dearly miss. It's brilliant. But it got too expensive for abc or whoever it originally produced and it got finished by Ted Turner's company. The whole thing does look very expensive indeed and on a modern tv it looks really pretty. Many shots of the landscape, presumably the original locations.

Cannon fire looks a bit odd. A bit too "explodey". Not a lot of canister being used either, and if, then at what seems to be 4 metres distance.

There's a lot of talking about motifs and so on. In the beginning it's kinda balanced between Confederate and Union officers talking (or monologizing into each other's face), lateron proceeding to being mostly Confederates (granted, they were the more 'active' part of the battle as far as I know. So naturally their considerations are more interesting for the sake of the battle). It nicely shows (and in exhausting detail) how communication works, especially before Pickett's Charge. Tom Berenger, playing Longstreet and making sure to have the biggest beard, the biggest hat and the biggest boots on screen at all times, goes from one command to the next, tells them what to do, have a chat and so on.

There's a stereotypically British liaison officer with the Confederates who pops up every now and then, mostly as the receiving end for exposition.

It's a bit silly, but before that film I never really thought about POWs in ACW. So I looked that up during the film. It's always good when media about a conflict make you think about new aspects of the matter at hand.

Overall it's a very neat film. Of course it's a completely dire affair if you're not interested in the subject matter and it's got its lengths, but if you're into the period you can spend those times looking at what fences look like, the colour of artillery carriages and the position of the US letters on them. Stuff like when bayonets are attached and when not, and so on.

The film's done in a very classic, almost documentarian way. Which is cool. There is no love story (only off-screen or people talking about it), no flashbacks, or even too much on the 'men on the ground'. It's mostly about officers and the bigger picture. The 'human experience' of it all is also shown, but it doesn't dwell on say a group of men in some unit.

The film wouldn't look like this if made nowadays. Or rather, if I was a film maker wouldn't touch the subject with a 200,000 foot pole nowadays of course. :p Anyway, so much for my ramblings about this film. If you're interested in the period it certainly is a must-watch.

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