ron maxell's "Gods and Generals" was an ambitious movie,it as a fitting follow-up to "Gettysburg",but the film failed at the box office.Financier,Ted Turner pulled out.The last part of Maxwell's trilogy was put on the back burner.My nephew,Patrick,is a cinematography student at USC,last night,he told me ,one of the reasons for G&G's failure was be cause Maxwell's uncut version was a much better film,much different from the theatre version,but it was over 5 hours long.I said" How do you know the long version was better?"He said"Because I saw it,or a version of it,a fellow student copped a copy from someone who got it from someone.I wish Ted Turner or the powers that be,would restore the original director's cut of the film with special features,this is too important a film to fade away
I've heard several people who have seen it say it's better, and the Antietam scenes are the best -- so obviously they didn't make the final cut. You would think Ted Turner would want to make some more money back from all he had spent...I think many of us would buy the director's cut or an uncut version just to see the Antietam sections.
The "Director's Cut" version of Gods and Generals has an alleged running time of six hours, and has never been released to the public in any format. For the theatrical release, almost two-and-a-half hours of footage were removed to get the length down to approximately 3 hours, 39 minutes. Among the footage edited includes a sub-plot which follows John Wilkes Booth, the famous actor who would eventually become the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. One scene towards the end of the extended cut of the film features Chamberlain and his wife, Fanny, attending a production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in which Booth plays Brutus. Chamberlain and his wife have a conversation with Booth and his fellow actors following the end of the play.
Another scene cut from the film features a performance in Washington, D.C. in which Booth plays the role of Macbeth, which is being seen by President Lincoln. When he gives the famous "dagger of the mind" soliloquy, he looks directly at Lincoln while reciting it. Later, when Booth is offered the chance to meet with Lincoln, he refuses.
Possibly the one scene that historians were sad to see removed from the film was the sequence dealing with the Battle of Antietam. The battle was seen mostly from the perspectives of Jackson (who played a major strategic role in the battle) and Chamberlain (whose brigade was held in reserve). A few minutes of footage from this scene was available online, but since appears to have been removed.
When Ron Maxwell showed the director's cut of the film in a very early pre-screening, it received a standing ovation at the end. However, there are apparently no plans being made by Warner Bros. to release the extended version of the film on DVD. At one point, Dennis Frye, who served as associate producer and helped organize the units of reenactors used in the film, supposedly said that the film was intended for release in the fall of 2005. However, this did not occur.