If you could make a film on the Civil War, what would you choose as the subject of your film?
The western theater of the war has been largely ignored by Hollywood. Something on Shiloh, with an emphasis on the early war period (enlistments, early war experiences culminating in Shiloh and its aftermath) or the March to the Sea would be nice. Even the siege of Vicksburg would make an interesting script, in my opinion.
I would make a movie about the events surrounding the death of General Bull Nelson by General Jeffersson C Davis and the career of Gen Davis afterwards
I think I would make a film focusing on lives of the privates and how they viewed and fought the war. Their home life, what motivated them to enlist, their thoughts on battles, being wounded, and their views of death. I think it would be a very moving and emotion filled film
I would like to make a movie about the friendship between U. S. Grant and William T. Sherman. There were a lot of letters written between the two of them over the years during and after the war. I would like to see the human side of both of these men protrayed as accurately as possible. I think Grant was such an interesting person and Sherman had to be one entertaining person to talk to!
Funny you should ask! I AM trying to “make a film” in that I’m writing a screenplay (isn’t everyone?). The name is “Slave Dogs” –about a Virgninian who trains dogs to guard slaves, just before the Civil War. Normally he would build barns for a living, but that was taken over by lower bids, which used slave labor. Unable to compete, he raised dogs.
A tragedy occurs, and he goes on a mission to destroy the slave dogs he sold, and he is caught up in the Civil War.
I came up with the idea from reading Southern newspapers — Mobile Alabama newspapers. There were dozens of ads in the paper for slaves, of course, slave girls, slave boys. We are all used to that, no big deal!
But I noticed the ads for the sale of DOGS — to guard slaves. Then I did more “research” (aka reading) and found that guard dogs were a huge deal. And whites had to train them — you couldn’t have blacks train guard dogs. The dogs had to be trained to attack fleeing BLACKS. So raising and training dogs was a business poor whites could do, which would not be taken over by businesses that rented slaves to dothe work. It was one of the few jobs whites HAD to do.
You couldn’t have enough white men around to guard the slaves 24/7/365, but you could terrorize your slaves by having the meanest dogs possible to scare the bejesus out of them –and make them think twice about running away.
God ordained slavery, was the South’s mantra, a “Divine Gift” said Davis. So to keep the “gift” on the plantation, God must have sent them these dogs.
Something about Antietam and the Emancipation Proclamation. Multiple viewpoints: Lincoln, McClellan, Douglass, Lee and Davis, and the British. I don’t think this would be that entertaining a movie, but it’s a subject I’m interested in.
A miniseries would be a good format; more room.
Something set in the Western theatre, I think. The subject matter I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to do something about a Southerner Unionist because I think that is coming out pretty soon or in the works, and for me it’s too trendy a subject at the moment.
I’d probably do something from a Confederate perspective, in the West, and try to address the economics issues behind the Civil War in detail.
I would love to see a movie based on General Greene’s defense of Culp’s Hill at Gettysburg. To me, it’s a far more compelling story than the well documented efforts of Chamberlain on LRT. I also believe that he does not get enough credit for the Union victory at Gettysburg.
The TV flick with Red Badge with “John Boy”–80′s?– was not bad tho’ few took it seriously……..as anyone who has read Crane’s story knows, Henry Fleming was a greenhorn, so Thomas fairly well-suited to the role
the Twilight Zone episode of Bierce’s An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge not bad . Still waiting for the blockbuster version of Chickamauga
Glory—eh. corporate Civil War product
I’d do one on the voyage of the Alabama—in fact, I have started a screenplay on this.
I’d like to make a film based on Richard Slotkin’s novel, The Crater.
I think someone should do a Civil War film on the Fort Pillow Massacre, ala Rashomon.
I’d do one about the experience of Kentuckians during the war. You could have one unconditional Unionist (individual or family), another who supported secession all the way and a third character/group who started off supporting the Union but felt better about the South after emancipation.
I’d add some military events too, but especially focus on Perryville among them. Davis’ killing of Nelson might find its way in the plot as well.
To try to make it more appealing to the masses, if that’s a consideration, perhaps Lincoln and his relationships with his in-laws and their various loyalties could be a key part- maybe THE key part from a marketing viewpoint.
Richard: have you seen _Pharaoh’s Army_? It is roughly down the lines you describe.
Thanks Don – I’ll have to check that out
Corey, have you read Doctorow’s novel The March? I haven’t, but I’ve heard it spoken very highly of.
No I have not read it either. My father has and he enjoyed it and I know the Prof. Blight uses it in his Civil War and Reconstruction class. Might need to add it to the reading list.
The Overland Campaign
Will Greene at Pamplin Park put together a very nice movie showing the difference in combat from the beginning of the war to the Overland. Want to see a full treatment.
The Valley Campaign of 1864 would be pretty good aslo.
Our little production company just released the DVD for our Civil War film “The Angel of Marye’s Heights.” (30 min. w/ 7 bonus features). This documentary has played at universities, museums and theaters from GA to PA and is available both online and at several museum gift shops including the National Civil War Life Museum, the Confederate Relic Room and Museum, the Fredericksburg Battlefield Eastern National bookstore, and Manassas Museum. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.theangelmovie.com. Our next documentary deals with the myths surrounding Billy The Kid and will be shot on location in NM.
I think the obvious film to make is a Band of Brothers set during the Civil War. Maybe follow an AoP regiment throught the whole war from recruitment to returning home. I’m surprised HBO isn’t doing this already.
Two other film subjects I think would work are:
Gustave Schurmann, Kearny’s famous bugler. This could be a great film.
Francis and Arabella Barlow. Romance, New York Society, Idealism, Suffering and loss. It’s like a Henry James novel—but with battles.
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