Like most of you, I am a documentary junkie. I have more DVD’s on the Civil War than I can easily count. From classics like Ken Burns’ Civil War to PBS’s Ulysses S. Grant, I have enough DVD’s to watch a documentary during every waking hour of the week – and not see any of them more than once. Sometimes I play my DVD’s while I am working on a blog article, with them essentially becoming background noise. Other times I turn out the lights, grab an ice cold adult beverage and popcorn, and kick back for an evening of Civil War theater – my fix so to speak.
When Patrick Weaver, from Mobius Films, Inc., recently contacted me about a new documentary they had just released, Confederate Goliath, I offered to give it a look. While I am well read, and have studied the Civil War through the print medium for many years, I do not necessarily feel qualified to review a documentary such as this. So I gave it some thought. What makes a Civil War documentary really good? I came up with the following criteria for judging the quality of the film.
- Unique and interesting subject
- Quality cinematography and special effects
- Respected historians that are knowledgeable on the subject
- Good flow and pace
Confederate Goliath hit the mark on each of these items. Based on Rod Gragg’s award winning book, “Confederate Goliath: The Battle of Fort Fisher,” the subject is very interesting and unique. The film reflects Gragg’s excellent research. Confederate Goliath includes commentary from respected historians backed up by amazing re-enacting. This combination makes it very enjoyable to watch. The special effects make you feel like you are there when General Alfred Terry’s infantry storms Fort Fisher and Colonel William Lamb surrenders. Playing on my Blue Ray disc player, the sound was extremely impressive, enhancing the overall effect of the film. The commentary, from Gragg, James I. Robertson, Jr. and Dr. Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr. is second to none. They are enjoying to listen to and are definitely subject matter experts. If you are a documentary junkie like me, I would definitely recommend you pick up this DVD.
Details About Confederate Goliath
Aired on public broadcast stations throughout the country, Confederate Goliath brings this dramatic battle to life through archival photographs, stunning 35mm cinematography and interviews with leading Civil War historians.
Running Time: Approximately 50 minutes
Dr. Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr., historian
Rod Gragg, author of Confederate Goliath
James I. Robertson, Jr., historian