“Fields of Freedom,” shot on a 500-acre farm in Hagerstown, Md., with young, little-known actors in authentic Civil War uniforms, debuts tonight at a reception at the National Archives Building. The film opens April 19, when it will be shown on a 3?-story screen to tourists visiting Mr. Monahan’s new Gateway Gettysburg complex adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park. The development eventually will include four hotels, a conference center, movie theaters, shops and restaurants.
“We couldn’t do a lot of blood and guts,” the 52-year-old Gettysburg native said recently while screening the film in his Northwest Washington home, which he shares with wife Laurie, three daughters and two dogs. “With school groups, we didn’t want too much violence.”
Still, the film depicts the defining battle of the Civil War in digital technology and Dolby 6 sound, and the result is an incredible trip back in time. The score was done by Trevor Jones and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, and the film ends with a recitation of the Gettysburg Address narrated by former President George Bush. “He was thrilled to do it,” said Mr. Monahan. The script was based on diaries of Union and Confederate soldiers.
“I’m very patriotic. I love history. … There were 175,000 troops involved in a three-day battle. There were 51,000 casualties. This helps bring the Battle of Gettysburg to life,” the executive producer said. “We have to experience what they fought for.”
By the way, what did they fight for? Perhaps it will be revealed with the Dolby 6 sound.