Lincoln and Lee at Antietam – The Cost of Freedom focuses on the single bloodiest day in American history. The film is narrated by Ronald F. Maxwell, director of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals.
LENGTH: Main program, 90 Minutes; Total, over two hours
CATALOG #: 20412
UPC #: 6-4603204129-3
ISBN #: 1-56839-362-8
RELEASE YEAR: 2010
PRODUCER: Inecom Entertainment Company
STARRING: James M. McPherson, Allen C. Guelzo, Dennis E. Frye, Paul V. Chiles, Patrick Falci, Stanley Wernz and Ben Black
TECHNICAL NOTES: Widescreen Version, Enhanced for 16 x 9 TV, Dolby Digital 2.0, Closed-captioned
It’s September 17, 1862 and President Abraham Lincoln needs a victory in order to issue the Emancipation Proclamation and end slavery in the South. But Robert E. Lee has other plans – invade the North. When Lee’s strategy falls into the hands of the Union Army, the result is the single bloodiest day in American history at the Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland. The Battle of Antietam results in more casualties than the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War and the Spanish American War combined. In fact, the bloodiest day of World War II, D-Day, amounts to only one quarter of the casualties suffered at Antietam.
Narrated by Ronald F. Maxwell, director of the epic Civil War films Gettysburg and Gods & Generals, and written, produced and directed by Robert Child, Lincoln and Lee at Antietam – The Cost of Freedom vividly brings to life the story of America’s fight for freedom in a battle that changed the course of the Civil War.
Lincoln and Lee at Antietam – The Cost of Freedom features commentaries from renowned historians such as Pulitzer Prize winning author James M. McPherson (Battle Cry of Freedom and Crossroads of Freedom:Antietam);two-time Lincoln Prize recipient Allen C. Guelzo; National Park Service historian at Harpers Ferry; author of Antietam Revealed and associate producer of Gods & Generals, Dennis E. Frye; actor/performing historian Patrick Falci and National Park Service historian at Antietam National Battlefield Park, Paul V. Chiles. Each explains the significance of this first Civil War battle fought on northern soil. Also appearing in the film is Stanley Wernz, President of the Association of Lincoln Presenters, as Abraham Lincoln.
Through first person accounts, an original music score from composers Steve Heitzeg and Nicholas Palmer and scarce Antietam commemorative battle footage from the 125th, 135th and 140th Antietam Reenactments, this film tells the tale of the 14-hour epic Battle of Antietam.
► SPECIAL FEATURES:
► On-Screen Interview with Ronald F. Maxwell
► Feature-Length Commentary Track with Robert Child and Ronald F. Maxwell
► Original Music Score from composers Steve Heitzeg and Nicholas Palmer
► Trailers for other Janson Media history DVDs
“This incredible, no-nonsense Civil War documentary is an unforgettable journey into the bloodiest one-day battle ever fought on American soil.” – Miriam Di Nunzio , Chicago Sun-Times
“A must for every student of the Civil War.” – Kristie Poehler, Battlefield Journal
“Does a fine job of illuminating Antietam’s significance.” – Louis R. Carlozo, Chicago Tribune
“Might be described as the definitive work on America’s bloodiest battle. A very valuable addition to school collections.” – Dwain Thomas, School Library Journal
“This moving, beautifully shot program includes thoughtful commentary and authentically staged reenactment footage.” – Candace Smith, Booklist
“Articulate and gut-wrenching, Lincoln and Lee at Antietam is a must for any history buff.” – Jordan Riefe, ABC Radio Network
“A compelling documentary…Highly recommended.” – Video Business
“This excellent documentary draws on vintage photographs, archival letters and journals, and interviews with historians and other Civil War experts to bring this remarkable story to life. Highly recommended.” – T. Keogh, Video Librarian
“Vintage still photos, live-action reenactments and a striking original musical score combine for an informative and entertaining production.” – Dwain Thomas, Library Journal
“A collection of highly regarded historians offer educated insight into the bloodiest day in American history.” – Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide
“A blessing for history buffs, this film is a clarifying and codifying slice of educational entertainment.” – Brent Simon, Now Playing Magazine
“You need this DVD for your collection. Great extras, on-screen interview with Ronald F. Maxwell, commentary and so much more.” – Tex Hughes, DVD Tipsheet
“Intriguing documentary.” – Gary Dretzka, Movie City News
“Takes an event in history and breaks it down into understandable information. Look at, study and recommend this DVD.” – www.JackieKCooper.com
“Use of old photographs, actors portraying the major personages and reenactment of the battle holds audience interest.”- Frank Behrens, Eagle Times
“An informative, insightful and well-formulated project of great scope and close to the heart for all parties involved, and it shows. Recommended.”- Louis Howard, DVD Talk
“This authoritative, impeccably researched DVD is a worthy addition to anyone’s Civil War collection.”- Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
“An informative, entertaining viewing experience presented with a neutrality that we could use more of in our history books. I highly recommend this documentary to every American.”- Aric Mitchell, UpcomingDiscs.com
CINE Gold Eagle Award, 2006
39th Annual WorldFest – Houston Film Festival, 2006 “Special Jury Award”
Biography, Director/Producer/Writer Rob Child
A multi-award winning, twenty-year television veteran, Robert Child began writing and directing independent productions in 2001. Of the 23 filmmaking awards he has won in the last two years, six were for outstanding directorial achievement. At the spring 2004 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival Child won both the Best Director and Best Historical Program awards. This topped a year in which he was awarded his second consecutive Platinum Remi Award for Best Historical Program at the Worldfest Houston Film Festival for Gettysburg: Three Days of Destiny. The film has gone on to win eight national awards and garner much critical acclaim in screenings at major U.S. film festivals.
In early November 2004 he was signed by veteran Canadian producer Dick Nielsen to direct and co-produce Nielsen’s forthcoming Canadian theatrical release, Hill 195. The project which begins filming in Canada in 2006 is a multi-million dollar World War II era action-feature which showcases the heroic actions of a single Canadian regiment just weeks after D-Day. During fall 2005, Child completed two commissioned story treatments, Hollywood Dream Car Designer: George Barris and The Paul Winchell Story.
Production Notes from Producer/Director Rob Child
The project began as a follow up to my earlier Civil War program for PBS, Gettysburg: The Boys in Blue & Gray. The battle of Antietam seemed to be such a mystery and much overshadowed by Gettysburg. Through my research and subsequent scripting of the film, not only did I discover that Antietam is as pivotal a Civil War battle as Gettysburg but also as important in how it indelibly altered the course of American history.
The film was written, developed and produced over more than a one year period as I intended to include visual elements which only occur at certain times of the year. For instance, I filmed battlefield landscapes in mid-September to historically match the time of the battle, and even more importantly, I knew I wanted to close the program with the Antietam Battlefield Illumination. This solemn ceremony is only held once a year on the first Saturday in December. My production team was granted rare permission by the National Park Service to film at dusk on the battlefield illuminated by 23,000 candles which spanned across thousands of acres.
As I stood on the field that cold December night, I don’t believe words can adequately match the feelings I had. The epic scope of the tragedy of this battle and the Civil War in particular could not have been illustrated more powerfully.
This story had to be told in the most resonant way in the writing as well as in the inclusion of the historians. I had never utilized on-camera scholars in my earlier films but this project demanded it. In my opinion, I assembled the very best – quite simply the finest Civil War historians in America today. They are without peer in their knowledge of this battle and this time in history. Not only does their insight add to the drama but also serves to set the record straight on many facts including President Lincoln’s feelings towards slavery. This was intentional. This man’s legacy should not be up for debate when the record is clear. Allen C. Guelzo, America’s only two-time winner of the Lincoln prize, is the foremost authority on Emancipation, and his comments beautifully illustrate Lincoln’s personal struggle with this issue.
Rounding out the film visually are archival Civil War photos, illustrations and reenactment footage. My approach to use of archival images is of great respect for the power these images hold in and of themselves. Although there are many surviving images of the dead on the Antietam battlefield, I use them sparingly and only when they will be most poignant or powerful. I never forget that they are images of people, long dead but people none the less, who lived and died for their cause.
In a film focused on the battle of Antietam, one must attempt to show the battle as vividly as possible. To that end I employed footage from previous Antietam commemorative battle reenactments. I contacted the producer of those programs and secured the footage seen in the production. My use of Antietam reenactment footage serves to capture what this epic battle could have looked and sounded like. Again, the footage is used in its most powerful way matched to first person accounts of Civil War soldiers who actually took part in the battle.
To close, as with all of my films, I enlisted the music talents of composer, Nicholas Palmer. There is no substitute for an original score when you want to heighten the power of the narration or the visuals. There are times in the film when the images are so moving that no words can describe the scene adequately; that is when the original music score aids the cinematography. The Antietam Battlefield illumination ceremony is one of those times. After working with me for several years, Nicholas knows the emotions I want to convey in each scene. It is a great working partnership where we actually push each other to be better. In previous films if a scene did not live up to his musical score, I would re-edit the scene to make it more powerful. It is all a quest to push elements to be the very best they can possibly be.
The selection of Ronald F. Maxwell as narrator was the crowning jewel. I had not worked with Ron previously, but of course, knew his theatrical Civil War films Gettysburg and Gods & Generals. Beyond his name recognition, his deep knowledge of the Civil War era, his acting prowess and emotional inflection raised the narration to a command performance.
After several months of writing, directing and producing this project, I humbly believe it is my finest effort to date