Humans have relied on horses since the dawn of time, but there is no stronger bond than between a horse and rider on the battlefield.
LENGTH: 56 Minutes, plus extra features on one disc
CATALOG #: 20425
UPC #: 6-4603204259-7
ISBN #: 1-56839-325-3
RELEASE YEAR: 2010
PRODUCER: Inecom Entertainment Company
TECHNICAL NOTES: Widescreen Version, Enhanced for 16 x 9 TV, Dolby Digital 2.0, English Subtitles
Narrated by Ronald F. Maxwell, director of the epic film Gettysburg, the Horses of Gettysburg [Public Television Edition] features the exciting version of the film that aired nationally in HDTV on PBS stations nationwide. Horses of Gettysburg captures the relationship between soldiers and their horses while celebrating these forgotten heroes of the Civil War and their critical role in shaping the United States of America that we live in today.
► SPECIAL FEATURES:
- 22-minute interview with Ronald F. Maxwell on working with horses in movies
- 5-minute interview with Doug Sloan, head wrangler for Gettysburg and Gods and Generals.
“The quality is excellent. Highly recommended.” – Library Journal
“A compelling look at the role that horses played in the war — a refreshing change of pace from the typical “talking head” documentary format employed by so many filmmakers.” – The New York Times All Movie Guide
“The focus on horses and mules in battle is a great idea. Interesting.” – Louis R. Carlozo, Chicago Tribune
“Illustrates the dash and daring of war on horseback. There is much of interest in this DVD.” – Christine M. Kreiser, America’s Civil War
“A unique ride with the largely unsung heroes of a battle that helped define America.” – American Profile
“I would highly recommend this educational and interesting film on DVD.” – Carly Williams, Horsemen’s Corral
“Delivers a trough of trivia and stories on steeds.” – Deborah Deasy, Tribune-Review
“Brilliantly uses a combination of live action, old photographs, sketches and engravings to illustrate its many points. Excellently done.” – Frank Behrens, Brattleboro Reformer
“Fascinating.” – Howard Benjamin, The Interview Factory
“Great looking anamorphic widescreen picture and excellent 5.1 sound mix — a must for your DVD collection.” – Tex Hughes, DVD Tipsheet
“This enlightening and entertaining DVD captures the sight and sound of charging horses in battlefield sequences with incredible authenticity. A must-see.” – Betty Jo Tucker, ReelTalkReviews.com
“This great DVD is dense with excellent content, intellect, entertainment and great quality. Horses of Gettysburg is one film you do not want to miss.” – Nate Goss, Fulvuedrive-in.com
“A fascinating, well-made and informative film.” – www.JackieKCooper.com
“The beautiful cinematography inspires. The unique perspective informs.” – Randy Chadwick, Gettysburg-acw.blogspot.com
“We have DVDs covering Civil War battles, its leaders, prison camps, etc. It’s about time the animals of the Civil War got their due.” – Mike Koepke, Mike’s Civil War Musings�
Ronald F. Maxwell – Producer/Director/Narrator
Ronald F. Maxwell is the son of a World War II veteran and a French war bride. He grew up in New Jersey where he graduated from Clifton High School. During his high school years, Maxwell founded the Garden State Players where he wrote, produced and directed dozens of plays and musicals. Maxwell enrolled as a theater major at New York University College of Arts and Sciences where he was a member of the Hall of Fame Players and the Green Room Honor Society. At NYU, Maxwell acted in plays and musicals, including the title role in Hamlet. His work in NYU’s theater program earned him an invitation and scholarship to attend the New York University Graduate School of the Arts, Institute of Film and Television. In 1970, Maxwell completed his graduate film thesis, writing and directing an adaptation of Albert Camus’ The Guest. Upon graduation, he worked in Spain as Charleton Heston’s personal assistant in Heston’s directorial debut, Antony and Cleopatra.
In 1974-1978, Maxwell worked at WNET-13, in New York City, and was one of the producers of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series Theatre in America. At WNET he produced Sea Marks, starring George Hearn and Veronica Castang. In 1978, he produced and directed Sissy Spacek, William Hurt, Sally Kellerman and Howard da Dilva in Verna: USO Girl, for which he received an Emmy nomination for Best Director. Maxwell was then “drafted” to Hollywood where his first theatrical film, Little Darlings, opened at #1 on Variety Magazine’s Top Hundred Grossing Films and has since become a classic of the genre. Subsequently, he directed The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia, Kidco and Parent Trap II.
Maxwell wrote and directed the landmark film Gettysburg which has been hailed as one of the greatest war movies in the history of film when it was released in 1993. In the summer of 1994, it was broadcast over two nights on the TNT Network where it established the all-time highest rating for a dramatic film on cable television. The video and DVD have sold millions of copies. Since then, Maxwell has produced, written and directed the film Gods and Generals, the prequel to Gettysburg. Gods and Generals was released in theaters February 2003, and the film was released to the home video market on July 15, 2003 as the #1 selling video in America, with over 600,000 sales in its first week.
Production Notes from Producer/Director Mark Bussler
“We are very pleased with our previous film Gettysburg and Stories of Valor and it seems like viewers and critics are too. I think the “no talking heads” style, high production value and cinematic panoramas of the battlefield worked well to tell the stories of the men who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg. In Horses of Gettysburg we set out to make an even better film. We wanted to out-do ourselves with more high-definition cinematography, more action and even bigger sound. This is a documentary about the partnership between a horse and rider, between a mule and driver – the main focus always remaining on the animals and their roles in this epic battle.”
Bussler says, “The idea for the film started with questions like how many horses were involved in the Battle of Gettysburg, who fed them, how were they trained, what happened to them during the battle?” Civil War historians and writers Michael Kraus and David Neville exploded with ideas of horse-related stories and the little known details about how the immense army of horses was kept productive in the field. “Making this film was an incredible and unique experience for me. Not only did I get the opportunity to work with these wonderful animals, but I also learned about the 72,000 horses and mules that were involved at the Battle of Gettysburg. We uncovered amazing details about the animals who served in the war, and through the film we visually tell their stories. The courage portrayed by the horses, mules and soldiers while in the chaos of battle is inspiring.”
For Horses of Gettysburg, the Bussler, Kraus and Neville team changed their style of storytelling to fit the subject. “This is the first time we looked at the battle in chronological order, starting with cavalry on the first day’s fight and ending with Pickett’s Charge and the equestrian monuments at the Gettysburg National Military Park. The viewers learn about the three-day battle as well as the cavalry and artillery horses’ roles in it. The film is broken down into individual segments, with each episode containing a different story.”
Bussler imagines that his experience working with live animals closely resembles the stories in the film about the soldiers and their horses working as a team. “This is an independent film with a tight budget and needed a lot of horses! We spent two full days filming the animals and recreating some of the battle scenes from the script. At first I thought directing the animals might be a challenge and that we wouldn’t get all the footage we needed for editing, but I soon learned that well-trained horses take directions very easily from their riders. No matter what was asked of the horses, whether it be multiple charges, passes by the camera or turns and stops, they performed flawlessly! Sure enough, the union between the horse and rider that we cover in the film is apparent.” The mule on the other hand, typical to its nature, was stubborn at first, but eventually warmed up to writer Michael Kraus. “Once the mule trusted Kraus, like the mules in the film trusted their drivers during the Civil War, he was a character on camera. I actually believe he enjoyed being filmed.”
Production for this documentary was organized and meticulously planned out. Shooting took place over four seasons so the battlefield and monuments could be captured in different angles of the sun. “When filming the Gettysburg battlefield, lighting is the key element. In order to capture the absolute best footage of the battlefield today, multiple shoot dates are required with close attention paid to the weather.” says Bussler.
Since the documentary was filmed in high-definition, the clarity of each of the monuments and statues is far greater than what is visible to the naked eye. Bussler was able to zoom in and capture the detailed sculptures with telephoto lenses and macro close ups, thus bringing the statues that are normally 30-feet high to eye level with the audience revealing details the casual tourist would never see.
“We set out to make a documentary honoring the brave horses and mules that fought at the Battle of Gettysburg and served throughout the Civil War, and I believe we accomplished that goal. We hope the viewers enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.” �