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Title: Gettysburg in Literature, Film and History: Setting Up the Battle

Description: Today we start part 1 of a 4 part series on the 1993 classic Civil War film Gettysburg. We are joined by frequent guest James Early and Sean McIver to discuss this epic battle and film. In this episode we will fill in some of the background of the war and the battle.

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Learn More About our Guests:

James Early and Sean McIver
Key Battles of American History Podcast

Keybattlesofamericanhistory.com

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Begin Transcript:

, [00:00:00] this is beyond the big screen podcast with your host, Steve Guerra. Welcome back to beyond the big screen. We have another installment of Hollywood hates history. Today, today we have the first of not one but four part conversation on the incredible 1993. Classic Gettysburg. We are joined by two civil war fanatics and podcasts.
Sean MacGyver of the common, take it, Texas history podcast and professor James early, a frequent contributor to beyond the big screen, the history of the papacy podcast, along with Scott rank’s history unplugged podcast. In this first episode, we will look at the broad overview of the battle. Film, we will also discuss the major source of the movie, the 1974 historical fiction novel the [00:01:00] killer angels by Michael Shara and the prelude to the.
We have much to talk about. So let’s get right to it. If you have a historical movie you love or hate, let me know, and maybe we can make an episode for Hollywood hates history. I have a few other movies in the works with Scott rank and others. If you’d like to participate in Hollywood, hates history, send me an email to steve@atozhistorypage.com.
I’d love to hear from you. Thanks again for listening and I will see you next time beyond the big screen.
welcome back today. We are talking about the great movie from 1993 Gettysburg. So today I’m going to be the host, but, um, we have two great. Guests, but we’re all kind of in on this [00:02:00] together. I’m Steve Guerra and I host the history of the papacy podcast as well as beyond the big screen podcast. I’m joined by James early and Sean MacGyver, Sean MacGyver is of the come and take a Texas history podcast.
And James early is a professor from San Jacinto college who is an. Time’s collaborator with Scott rank on his history unplugged podcast. Uh, it took a little doin, but we all came together. Are you excited to talk about Gettysburg? I am totally excited. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. I’m so glad we’re finally doing it.
Uh, why don’t we just get we’ll jump straight into it. James. Can you tell us a little bit about the background? Um, the book and the movie Gettysburg? Yes. The, uh, movie Gettysburg is based on a novel called the [00:03:00] killer angels, which was written in 1974, published in 1974 by Michael Shera or shore. I’m not really sure how that’s pronounced.
I think it shares is Shara, Shara. Okay. S H a R a. Uh, it was Michael Shara is kind of an interesting person. He was a writer in the 50, 60 seventies, eighties, a little bit. He wrote primarily science fiction and sports fiction, not too much historical fiction. He had four novels of which the killer angels is his second.
And it’s his only novel that is. Uh, historical fiction as a side note, it’s interesting that he also wrote the book for love of the game, which was turned into a movie with Kevin Costner. But anyway, I don’t want to get too far off track, but the killer angels was very well-received. It won the Pulitzer prize in 1975 and Shara, after he, after he wrote his fourth novel for love of the game killer angels was the second [00:04:00] one.
After that he. Just wrote, well, actually not much of anything, if anything. And then he died in 1998. Uh, interestingly enough, after that his son, Jeff, Sharon, or Shara, uh, took up the torch and wrote a pre-qual called gods and generals and a sequel called the last full measure, making a civil war trilogy.
And then Jeff Shaara went on to write many, many, many more historical novels, but. Going back to the killer angels. What’s interesting about the killer angels is it tells the story of the battle of Gettysburg through the. And the thoughts of some of the major commanders on both sides. For example, there are chapters devoted to Robert Lee.
What he is seeing, what he’s thinking. There are chapters devoted to James Long street on the union side. The primary character is Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who was the commander of the 20th Maine regiment. One of the key regiments on day two of the. [00:05:00] And there are other characters, of course, that are brought into it as well, but he really does a great job in the book.
Putting you inside the mind of these commanders and what they were thinking and what they were feeling, what they were hoping to do, hoping to accomplish it’s it’s fiction. Of course, it’s not a, it’s not a regular history book. It’s a, it’s a historical novel, but I think Shera does or Shara, it’s going to take me several times to get used to that, but, uh, it’s it, he really.
I think it’s, it’s a very accurate novel. A lot of the speeches and the dialogues are just made up, but others are based on things that these men wrote in their diaries or their letters or their memoirs. Uh, so it’s a, it’s a fantastic novel. I’m not going to lie. I’m just going to go ahead and lay my cards up ahead of time.
I love this book. I love this book so much. I’ve read it probably five or six times, and I love this movie. This is one of my all time. Favorite movies. Of any genre, but anyways, so [00:06:00] that’s the killer angels, the killer angels. It took them a while to make it into a movie, but the movie was made by Ted Turner and Ted Turner.
It was going to be a mini series, but they decided to make it into a movie. And the movie itself is extremely long. In fact, I read that it’s the longest feature film ever to be made and shown in movie theaters. Clocks in at about four hours and 15 minutes. There’s an extended version. That’s even longer.
If it just in case four hours at 15 minutes is not long enough for you. But I remember when it came out, I was in grad school the first time. Uh, and I went and saw it, the theater. I think I was all by myself. My wife says, there’s no way I’m going to watch a four hour movie war movie. So I went and saw it in the theater twice.
So that’s just how nerdy and how crazy I am, but I’ve always been a civil war nut. So, so the movie stars, it has an all-star cast it it’s, it’s an amazing cast. The primary [00:07:00] character on the. Confederate side is actually James Long street and he is played by Tom Berenger. Who’s been in platoon and many, many other movies.
Uh, Robert Lee. Another of the major characters he’s played by Martin sheen. Everybody knows who Martin sheen is. He’s been in films for several decades and many that he was on the west wing for many years. The TV show on the union side, the primary character is Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Who’s played by Jeff Daniels.
Also a veteran actor. Who’s been in a million things and let’s see, who am I leaving out among the major characters? Yeah, Sam Elliot, how can I leave out Sam Elliott, dog on it? Sam Elliott, if you don’t know who Sam Elliott is, uh, just turn off this podcast right now and go do some research. Go watch like 10, 10 of his movies.
Sam Elliott is a legend. He’s been in many westerns as well as other movies. Yeah, it was in the big Lebowski. He played the cowboy and he was the narrator. He [00:08:00] was in a, they were, we were soldiers, uh, the Vietnam movie with El Gibson. He was. Gosh, he’s been so many things. He was in the original Hulk movie.
Uh, the one that was didn’t it had Edward Norton, I think, or I don’t know. I don’t know. That was, he was in the original one with, uh, uh, direct. Okay. So yeah, he was the general, but anyway, uh, so great cast. There’s a lot of other people, C Thomas Howell is in it. Uh, Jordan Richard Jordan plays Lewis arm Armistead, and this was his last role.
Uh, you can tell he was dying of cancer and you could definitely tell he was not well. Uh, but he’s such a, if you’ve seen, you know, Richard Jordan, if you’ve watched the hunt for red October, he’s the, uh, he’s the national security. No way really. I don’t have to go back and watch that again. Folks, Sean is like Mr.
Movie. He is a walking film and cyclic was in it too. There’s a James Bond in there. You have to look [00:09:00]

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"Gettysburg in Literature, Film and History: Setting Up the Battle" History on the Net
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June 12, 2024 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/gettysburg-in-literature-film-and-history-setting-up-the-battle>
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