Letters to the editor - 3/25/03

March 25, 2003

G&G was great

To the editor:

Self-appointed film critics have been unfair to both Ron Maxwell and "Gods and Generals." Each critic has fallen into the common abyss of "Compared to what?" Sure, "Gone With the Wind" had a defined love story. More characters emerge in "The Great Escape," while "The Dirty Dozen" was funnier . . .

But if you want to understand the Civil War - from both Union and Confederate sides, see this film.

If you want to "feel" what a Civil War battlefield was really like, see this film.

This production offers splendid examples of challenges, successes, and failures of military command and leadership.

Finally, there are brilliant portrayals of historic scenes and figures - including Chamberlain, Jackson and Lee (Robert Duvall is spellbinding as Lee).

Note my opinions are not personal. I studied film intensively in graduate school, and recently taught "Great War Films" twice for Marshall University. I also wrote and directed a dozen non-fiction Navy films, and in another dozen was narrator, writer and actor. I've missed seeing few war films since 1936.


"Gods and Generals" echoes our finest war films: "The Red Badge of Courage," "Dances With Wolves," the first production "All Quiet on the Western Front" and Eisenstein's immortal "Alexander Nevsky." But "Gods and Generals" offers better sound, wider screen, splendid color and longer battle scenes. Anyone with the slightest interest in war films or the Civil War should see this fim on a big screen now - before it's gone, thanks to those erstwhile critics.

"Gods and Generals" recaptures fleeting segments of that four-year war like no other film. Yes, it' s a long film - but it was a long war. It's haunting quality, like "Zulu," will never leave me.

David L. Woods
Hedgesville, W.Va.

A candle for troops

To the editor:

In many communities across the country, families are displaying an electric candle in a home window to symbolize support and caring for the men and women serving in our armed forces both here and abroad. I am suggesting that our community could join in this effort.

Placing a candle in the window does not signify that you are for or against war in Iraq. It simply means that we support our armed forces in their missions.

Most would agree that these are troubling times in our history. Each day we are inundated with a wide variety of opinions regarding possible conflicts. Families and friends are divided on the issues. Anti-war protesters are gaining momentum and the Bush administration presents the dangers of the Iraqi regime. As a nation, the debate will continue.

However, in the midst of all of this, young Americans from every state and every community are serving in the armed forces so that we can protest if that is our choice or we can support an effort to oust Saddam Hussein if that is our goal.

Those servicemen and servicewomen, wherever they are serving, deserve our caring, our support and our faith in our country. Many of them are placing themselves in harm's way to preserve and protect our freedom and the American way of life. Please light that single candle in honor of them.

Carolyn G. Donegan

HBC has program too

To the editor:

Andrea Rowland's article in today's paper about Hagerstown Community College's toe-dipping focus on career education was well-written and informative.

However, with just a little research, she could have both discovered and acknowledged that Hagerstown Business College has enjoyed extraordinary success with that same focus for 65 years.

HBC has been so successful for two reasons. One, they have had well over a 90 percent placement rate for their graduates. Two, they have an enormously high satisfaction level expressed by the employers of those graduates.

Jack Costa

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