View single post by CleburneFan
 Posted: Tue Mar 25th, 2008 03:40 am
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Joined: Mon Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 1021

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Fess Parker starred in a 1956 Disney movie in which he acted exactly like he did in Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. No coon skin cap this thime, though. The movie is a true Civil War story called The Great Locomotive Chase. 

It is loosely based on actual events in 1862 when James Andrews (Parker) and 22 other "spies" attempted to purloin a Confederate locomotive and take it back to Chattanooga. The one they did steal was called The General.  The engineer they stole it from is William Fuller who began an incredible chase at first on foot, then by other inventive means to recover the locomotive.

A well researched book  was released last year that studies this event in far greater detail. It is  called Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor by Russell S. Bonds.

I read that fascinating book, so I rented the DVD of Fess Parker's movie from Netflix and could hardly bare to watch it because of Parker's really bad acting and the way the story was "Disneyfied" for family viewing. It is as if Disney made a family version of the Battle of Antietam. Just one example, in the movie nobody was captured, held in dungeon-like conditions, hung and then rehung because they didn't die the first time.

This is such an amazing and improbable misadventure in the Civil War, it really deserves a modern day Film  treatment much as was done with "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." It would have to be very fast paced, however, because the actual story was fast paced and high tension. 

And I would beg those who choose to film the story this time, please do NOT hire an actor as bad as Fess Parker and please do not "familyfy" the movie. Make it what it was... a very dangerous and failed Union expedition into Georgia in 1862. The ending is not a happy one.

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