12 thoughts on “Field of Lost Shoes: Ulysses S. Grant

  1. Bob Nelson April 8, 2016 / 6:34 pm

    Skerritt sounds more like Sherman than Grant. But there are major timeline problems. This scene is supposed to have happened on March 29, 1864. Grant met Lincoln on March 8 and received his commission from Lincoln himself on March 9. So “And if I were to name you general-in-chief?” doesn’t make any sense at all unless this Lincoln is totally absent-minded and forget that he personally gave Grant his commission 20 days earlier in a brief ceremony at the White House. By the 29th, Grant was already in the field near Brandy Station with the AoP. And then there’s, “Congratulations on your victory.” What victory? Chattanooga? That was 4 months earlier. And finally there’s Grant’s line, “Some call me a butcher.” Talk about tripe. The “butcher” criticisms didn’t appear until later in the summer during/after the Overland Campaign and blossomed after the war pushed by the Lost Causers. If this is a fair representation of the entire movie, I’ll pass. Too many kerfluffles in a 3-minute clip.

  2. bob carey April 9, 2016 / 2:34 am

    At least they got the height difference between Grant and Lincoln about right.
    I don’t see Grant speaking about total war at this time.

  3. Lyle Smith April 9, 2016 / 6:44 am

    I think the portrayal of Sigel outshines the portrayal of Grant in this film.

  4. John Foskett April 9, 2016 / 7:54 am

    “That’s Entertainment!”

  5. James F. Epperson April 9, 2016 / 9:51 am

    Didn’t sound like Grant at all—and the historical liberties with things simply confirm all the complaints I’ve heard about the movie.

  6. Rob Baker April 9, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    He’s no Daniel Day Lewis

    Quite frankly Dr. Simpson, you’re the U.S. Grant expert, what say you?

  7. BillF April 9, 2016 / 8:49 pm

    I think I’m more critical of the script than the Grant portrayal. An actor can only work with what he’s given. I’ve seen so many Grants in so many films I’m not sure which has been the best.

  8. Mark Snell April 10, 2016 / 6:45 pm

    Still can’t imagine Grant as a Top Gun instructor.

  9. Tony April 11, 2016 / 4:31 pm

    It’s my opinion that Grant wasn’t the butcher, Lincoln was.

    In a scene like this, I imagine Grant shifting uneasily quite a bit and glancing occasionally at the door and his watch. 😀

  10. Noma April 11, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    “I’ve seen so many Grants in so many films I’m not sure which has been the best.” I’m not sure which is the worst — but this could well be it.

    Every line is something that Grant would not have said. And, each sentence is delivered in a way that Grant would never have delivered it. And, even the make-up. Surely, Grant must have had a secret beauty cream to be so wrinkly in March, but so smooth skinned on June 10, when Mathew Brady took his iconic photo.

    And what to speak of Grant’s much-noted “musical voice”! That’s gone, too.

    Is all historical drama this horrible and far off the mark? Or am I just too sensitive.

    At least it should be a law that no playwright or director or actor is permitted to portray Grant unless he or she has read Horace Porter’s campaigning with Grant — as well as Alexander Stephens’s account of meeting with Grant prior to the Hampton Roads conference in 1865.

    It’s no wonder people think Grant is arrogant — when this is the type of portrayal they see.

    But that depiction completely misses the central point of Grant’s character. He is constantly described — by friend and foe — as *quiet,* non-swearing, modest (a word we scarcely know the meaning of), thoughtful. Just the opposite of this actor. He’s not boastful, arrogant, or blood thirsty. The opposite. “Man’s inhumanity to man, makes countless thousands mourn,” he quietly quotes at Donelson.

    Here’s the man who told Otto von Bismarck, “The truth is, I take no interest in military things. I’m actually more of a farmer than a soldier.”

    A *real* playwright, director, actor would have explored those mysteries in Grant’s character. There are dozens of books by contemporaries that could have helped them.

    Grant is deeply, deeply sensitive. That’s his asset and that’s his mystery. Yep, he’s a guy that cries. But that sensitivity is his super-power. That’s how he gets into the head of Pemberton or Lee to completely deceive them about what he is doing. He’s also invisible.

    Anyway, this is extremely poorly written, poorly directed, and poorly acted.

    I’d like to hear people say what their favorite depiction of Grant is. I think Jared Harris in Lincoln was at least not too bad. But, I think this — as odd as it is (talking about Grant at Gettysburg) and being a crazy, gay fantasy, is still my favorite. At least they understand that Grant is invisible. As when some fans met him on the road to Georgetown: “Have you seen
    General Grant — we heard he is coming to town!” “Oh, he’s somewhere on the road…”

    Anyway, here’s the movie:

  11. Erick Hare April 23, 2016 / 9:38 pm

    I don’t like the portrayal at all. Mainly because Grant’s reputation as a “butcher” was largely fabricated in the Eastern Theater after his promotion at battles such as the Wilderness and Cold Harbor.

    Sure Grant enforced unconditional surrenders in Tennessee early in the war, but the only battle he fought on his terms after showing great consideration for his opponent at the end of the Vicksburg Campaign was Cold Harbor. Despite how bloody the battle of Shiloh was as well as the campaigns of 1864-65 Lee and Albert Sidney Johnson both attacked Grant and chose where most of the battles were fought on their terms. So most of the blood in those instances are on Lee’s and Johnson’s hands not Grant.

    The only other major bloodshed Grant was directly responsible for was the Battles of Cold Harbor and the Crater, but even in the Battle of the Crater really the people responsible for most of the bloodshed were the commanders in the battle itself who led their men into the Crater, not Grant.

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