Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Ambrose Bierce - Civil War Stories|
Actor: Campbell Scott; Vivian Schilling; Nathan Darrow
Director: Don Maxwell
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Military & War
In 1890 ambrose bierce was one of the worlds most respected writers. Three of his most popular & profound tales are brought to life - story of a conscience one kind of officer & an accurrence at owl creek bridge. Studio: ... more »
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R. Schultz | Chicago | 03/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie starts out like a high school play. I was put off by what seem obvious wigs on the actors, especially on Campbell Scott, who plays Bierce. And I was put off by everyone's stilted, stagy delivery.
But before long, the amateurishness lifted, like a curtain rising - and I found myself being absorbed in the recreations of Bierce's opinionated pessimisms, and in the dramatizations of several of his short stories. So stick with it.
The story dramatizations take their time. These vignettes aren't for people who demand action and special effects. The first story for example will make you wander in a dense fog on a long-gone Civil War battlefield for long minutes at a time, without anything really happening. But it was this very deliberateness that won me over, that put me in these characters' shoes as they try to decide where their priorities lie - in the abstractions of patriotism and honor - or in their personal relationships with people who have meant something to them. This is so often a slow, foggy, inward process of decision that the pace of the film serves the material well.
Bierce's most famous short story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," is well-done here. I don't think it's done quite as well as it was done decades ago as a Twilight Zone episode. But it is still mesmerizing, heart-wrenching.
I had known Ambrose Bierce mostly for his "Devil's Dictionary," his collection of epigrammatic, cynical definitions - and for his mysterious disappearance in Mexico almost 100 years ago. I hadn't realized he had written regular columns for William Randolph Hearst's papers, or that he had written so many moving short stories. So this movie was an eye-opener for me. It sent me back to check Bierce's collections of stories off the library shelves. Like me, you might end up being grateful to this movie for allowing you to discover, or to re-discover, an American original, an American genius.
Drummer | Fort Myers, FL USA | 11/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, if you're a Bierce fan, you won't tolerate a lame Hollywood version of the man. You won't be disappointed; Campbell Scott does a great job: He's obtuse and cynical--everything we expect from Bierce.
The three stories are beautifully filmed and acted. In the first segment, "One Kind of Officer," the battle scenes go on too long, but the story's payoff makes up for it. The second segment, "Story of a Conscience," is perfectly realized--the best of the three, in my opinon. The third, "Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" is, of course, the most famous story. It's well done, and it includes story details that were missing from the award-winning 1962 Enrico film. Nevertheless, it doesn't have the emotional impact that the Enrico film had. Enrico nailed the climactic moment so well, I don't think anyone could ever do it better.
I hope this film, even though it obviously had limited distribution, will inspire uninformed viewers to get into Bierce. He was such an outrageous character (no less than eight biographies have been written) that his life often overshadows his work--but that's part of the fun.
These filmed versions of Bierce's stories really stay true to his intention: to show what an utterly foolish and misguided creature is man, with war being the greatest evidence of his folly.
Plus, it's great to see Bierce hanging out with his employer / nemesis, William Randolph Hearst. Great stuff!
Brian Douglas | 09/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having been a big fan of Ambrose Bierce stories since the fabulous French version of "Owl Creek Bridge" I can't tell you how pleasantly surprised I was to attend the preview of Ambrose Bierce: Civil War Stories. It not only contains a great new rendition of "Owl Creek" but two of my other favorite stories captured on film. Campbell Scott completely and totally embodies everything I have ever studied about Bierce. Vivian Schilling and Nathan Darrow do an excellent job as Atherton and Hearst defining the period and style of post Civil War America. All in all this was a great evening combining three fabulous stories wrapped together by a dialogue between Bierce, Atherton and Hearst. This is a must see for anyone, anywhere interested in a troubled time in the United States because it clarifies Bierce's position on the War and his job with Hearst. With great acting, superb battle scenes and outstanding cinematography a great buy for Civil War historians, schools, libraries and all fans of great filmmaking."
Janet Sheffey | kansas city, mo USA | 09/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Civil War Stories" is the type of historical movie that everyone should see - Bierce is one of my favorite writers (became a fan in junior high!), and to see "Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge" on film was fantastic. Civil War Stories should be required in every american history and american literature class, but more than that - it brings relief to those of us who are starved for smart film in a world of Tv Show remakes."