Some riled by Antietam cut
- From today's Hagerstown Herald-Mail...
"Some Riled When Battle Cut From Civil War Movie"
Word that scenes of the Civil War Battle of Antietam have been cut from the
theater version of "Gods and Generals" disappointed some Sharpsburg-area
residents, even though those scenes were filmed in Virginia. "We are not
pleased," said Bob LeBlanc, part owner of the Inn at Antietam in Sharpsburg.
"Antietam was a big part of that mess," he added, referring to the Civil War.
"Isn't that a bummer."
Sandy Henson, who lives about three miles from Sharpsburg, was dipping ice
cream Thursday afternoon at Nutter's Ice Cream, just off the square in
Sharpsburg, which is near the battlefield. Was she disappointed the Antietam
battlefield scenes were cut from the film? "Yeah, really," she said, "I don't
know why they wanted to cut it - I think that was one of the main points" of
But Wayne Alter Sr., who was eating ice cream at Nutter's, said "I expected
that. It wasn't that significant" to the film. "Gods and Generals" director
Ron Maxwell said Wednesday that Battle of Antietam scenes and others had to
be cut to reduce the length of the movie, which now runs 3 hours and 35
minutes. At one time before editing was completed, the film was 4 hours and
40 minutes long, Maxwell said.
The Antietam battle scenes will appear in the six-hour DVD version of the
film, Maxwell said. "I'm just surprised to hear it," said Sallie Cornell,
co-owner of the American Deli. "The battle's why the history is there" in
Washington County. "Most men that even watch those type of movies watch it
for the battles," she said. Betty Snyder, the children's librarian at the
Sharpsburg Library, said her mother, who is now deceased, watched local
filming of the movie from her Red Hill home and "was fascinated by it. It was
a real big deal."
At the Sharpburg Arsenal on Main Street, owner Don Stoops was planning to
offer companion materials to his shop patrons. "We have a lot of stuff
ordered to coincide" with the film's release, he said, but now he doesn't
think he'll have quite the influx of tourists he'd expected.
"I think that our area is definitely gonna miss out on that boom without
Antietam being in," Stoops said. He said the market for Civil War
collectibles will still get a boost, but "we were looking to see Antietam to
be a big part of that film."
"As a Washington Countian I'm very disappointed," said attorney Bruce Poole,
who represented Maxwell when he sought local backing for the film. "But there
was enormous pressure to shorten that movie."
Dennis Frye, a local Civil War expert and an associate producer of the film
said he agonized for weeks over cutting the Antietam scenes. "I would hope
that local people would be disappointed; that tells me they're very proud of
their local history," Frye said. "I'm extremely disappointed because Antietam
is such a significant battle, but it is not an essential battle in 'Gods and
Generals,' the movie." That's because the film is not about the war itself,
but about the primary characters. "We cut out entire campaigns that were
directly related to the main characters," Frye added, including Stonewall
Jackson's Valley Campaign, one of the most important in the general's career.
Washington County Commissioners' President Gregory I. Snook said that
although the Battle of Antietam scenes - filmed on farmland between
Lexington, Va., and Staunton, Va. - were out, many of the scenes shot in
Washington County are in. "I'm not disappointed," Snook said. "In seeing how
the whole film was shot, there was a lot of footage that got cut." But, he
said, "the county's not left out."
"I'm obviously disappointed," Hagerstown Mayor William Breichner said, "but
I'm still just very proud of the fact that they made that movie here. I'm
proud that Hagerstown and Washington County was such a major part of it."
Del. Christopher Shank, who legislative district includes Sharpsburg, was
philosophical. "Gettysburg," Maxwell's last Civil War epic, evoked the
sanctity of that battlefield, He said. "I think Antietam already holds that
place," he said. "Maybe we don't need a movie for that." The Hagerstown
premiere for "Gods and Generals is next Tuesday at the Maryland Theatre.
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- On Friday, February 7, 2003, at 08:37 PM, rotbaron@... wrote:
> From today's Hagerstown Herald-Mail...Makes about as much sense to me as it would to cut the First Inaugural
> "Gods and Generals" director Ron Maxwell said Wednesday that Battle of
> Antietam scenes and others had to be cut to reduce the length of the
> movie, which now runs 3 hours and 35 minutes.
Address out of a movie biography of Lincoln.
> The Antietam battle scenes will appear in the six-hour DVD version ofDid Maxwell say when the DVD might be available?
> the film…
> Dennis Frye, a local Civil War expert and an associate producer of theFine. I'll wait for the DVD.
> film said …"I'm extremely disappointed because Antietam is such a
> significant battle, but it is not an essential battle in 'Gods and
> Generals,' the movie."