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Gettysburg and Stories of Valor: Civil War Minutes III (Public Television Edition) - documentary DVD review
GETTYSBURG & STORIES OF VALOR: CIVIL WAR MINUTES III (PUBLIC TELEVISION EDITION) Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Narrator: Keith Carradine
Director: Mark Bussler   Studio: Inecom Entertainment Company
DVD release: 18 September 2007   Runtime: 56 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
DVD Features: Subtitles (English), Audio Tracks (English, Dolby Digital 2.0), Bonus trailers for Johnstown Flood, Shot to Pieces and CIVIL WAR MINUTESŪ - Confederate.

I think that I shall never tire of war stories, most of all war stories approached from the angle of the foot soldier. There's no shortage of stories on what the generals were up to at this battle or that, but the stories of the little guys, the grunts, are something to which I - and many with a layman's interest in military history - can more easily relate. Here we have 12 bite-sized stories of the battle of Gettysburg that capture the imagination and fill one with the desire for more.

Keith Carradine narrates the stories, each one filled with historical pictures, artifacts from the field of battle, and new footage showing the relevant locations today.

We have the story of a military drum, left behind on the field of battle, preserved for nearly a century and a half.

We have the story of John Burns, a veteran of the war of 1812. Although not allowed to enlist (he was 69 in 1863, when the battle took place), he asked to do his part when the battle reached his home town. He was injured several times but fought bravely through it. He went from local oddball to national hero.

Production value is good on this title, though some brief distractions pop up. The TV rating symbol shows up at the beginning, and while not a deal-killer, it seems a bit tacky. Some of the present-day battlefield footage is accompanied by auto traffic in the background. I know it may not always be possible to control traffic on a shoot (perhaps more so in a national park), but it would have been nice to avoid the distraction.

All in all, this is a fine documentary with excellent stories worth hearing. While it doesn't tell the entire story of the Battle of Gettysburg, that is not its purpose.

This title comes in a 3-hour version that I'd be very interested in seeing. Now that I have the appetizer, I'm ready for the main course.

reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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