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Blue & The Gray, The
THE STRAIGHT DOPE:
Lawd amighty, The Blue and the Grey is a boring movie. Stretched out over almost 6 1/2 agonizing hours, this 1982 miniseries attempts to tell the story of the Civil War through the eyes of John Geyser (John Hammond), a newspaper illustrator originally from Virginia, but finding his allegiance a little further north. Overall the film is a mind (and butt) numbing experience full of hokey acting and sloppy direction. The battle of Bull Run, for example, is presented as an unbelievable mess of sloppy staging and camera placement. In fact, most of the camera work has the look of an episode of Matlock and the overall pacing seems to skip over anything important while dwelling endlessly on unimportant details and characters.
In addition to the length (or should I say girth) of the film and its ham-handed treatment of this subject, The Blue and the Grey is also filled with weirdly confusing moments, like an early scene where two characters named John discuss a third character also named John, or an unexpected shot of a shirtless Stacy Keach standing in profile rubbing his own ass. The film isn't a comedy, though, and doesn't achieve drama either. The packaging may suggest that The Blue and the Grey outclasses both Gone With the Wind and Glory, but it never comes within miles of touching the former's endless passion and the latter's gritty, painfully realistic drama. Heck, it doesn't even achieve the corny overheated melodrama of that other 80's Civil War miniseries, The North and the South.
The full frame video looks mostly fine. It's sharp and clear, although the cinematography is muddy and ugly.
The mono soundtrack is technically fine. The musical score is pretty terrible, however. The dialog is also available in French and subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai.
There are no extras. The film stretches over three discs.
The Blue and the Grey is simply a terrible movie. Nearly unwatchable and painfully boring, it manages to turn one of the most desperate and important times in our nation's history into a snore fest.