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The Blue and the Gray (14-Nov-1982)

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen

Writers: Bruce Catton (story); John Leekley (story); Ian McLellan Hunter

Keywords: Drama, Civil War

TV miniseries.

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Review by Medusa (posted on 8-Feb-2005)

The first time I saw this I was very young and enjoyed it. The story line follows a war artist correspondant, John Geyser, through the Civil War. His family is from Virginia and side with the Confederacy. He has cousins from Pennsylvania who side with the Union. John, as an observer, sees both sides of the war. The first part of the war, he tags along with the Union regiment his cousins are fighting in. Then he heads South and meets up with his family who considers him a traitor.

There are strong and weak actors. Some of the more memorable characters include John's cousins who fight for the union, Malachy and Jake Hale, John's younger brother Luke, who provides comic relief, John's very stingy Uncle Jacob who gave John his start as a newspaper artist, and of course Gregory Peck as Abraham Lincoln.

The film has many inaccuracies and is not the most historically enlightening, nor does it have the battle sequences of Glory and Gettysburg. The longest battle sequence is Bull Run, where the characters (John's two brothers and two cousins) are disconnected, unlike Gettysburg that keeps you with the characters. There are also a couple side romance stories. John falls in love with a Senator's daughter. John's best friend falls in love with John's cousin. There's also many, many characters that are introduced for one or two scenes and then are never heard from again. The story line is choppy, events are wrongly ordered (Vicksburg and the Gettysburg Address) and major events are often left out to make room for odd side stories; later in the movie they refer back to the events that they didn't show (Battle of Antietam and the main Battle of Gettysburg). John's cousins are from Gettysburg, but it makes no mention of them fighting at their hometown. What it shows instead is Stuart's calvary "joy riding." They simply end the war with Lee coming out of Appomatax Court House; they don't show any last battles. In fact by the time the movie reaches Lee's surrender it's been awhile since they've shown any war scenes at all.

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