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The Civil War: The 150th Anniversary of the Civil War (Spotlight)
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The 150th Anniversary of the Civil War - Mondays & Wednesdays in April

From the early silent days of Hollywood to the present, hundreds of movies have been made on the subject of the American Civil War, which raged from 1861 to 1865. On this important anniversary, TCM presents a tribute of tremendous historic and generic breadth with stark dramas (The Red Badge of Courage, 1951), lighthearted comedies (Advance to the Rear, 1964) and epics from The Birth of a Nation (1915), the first true Civil War epic, to Gettysburg (1993), a Turner Pictures production based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the decisive battle of the war.

Films are divided into various categories. Other Civil War Epics include the most celebrated of them all, Gone With the Wind (1939), David O. Selznick's ravishing screen treatment of Margaret Mitchell's romantic view of the Old South and the war's devastating effect upon it, and Raintree County (1957), an underrated film version of Ross Lockridge Jr.'s poetic and moving account of life in Civil War Indiana. Among views of Life on the Home Front is Friendly Persuasion (1956), with Gary Cooper and Anthony Perkins as a Quaker father and son torn between the threat of war and their views on pacifism, and Little Women (1949), with leading MGM lights June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh and Margaret O'Brien as sisters in a charming version of the Louisa May Alcott story. Silents include The General (1927), a comedy based on the true story of a hijacked Confederate train that is often considered Buster Keaton's masterpiece, and Uncle Tom's Cabin (1927), an elaborate production of Harriet Beecher Stowe's "abolition" classic.

Comedies and Musicals feature the TCM premiere of Golden Girl (1951), with Mitzi Gaynor in a sparkling performance as Lotta Crabtree, a real-life entertainer of the Civil War era, and A Southern Yankee (1948), starring Red Skelton as a bumbling Yankee posing as a Southern secret agent, with hilarious gags devised by Buster Keaton. Also enjoying a TCM premiere is a Civil War Western, The Siege at Red River (1954), with Van Johnson as a Confederate officer smuggling guns through enemy lines. Included in Stories from the Battlefield is Glory (1989), a true account of an all-black regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry that is considered by many to be the finest of all Civil War films. Among the studies of Politics and Postwar Reconstruction are portraits of two American Presidents, Abraham Lincoln (1930), directed by D.W. Griffi th with Walter Huston in an imposing performance as the Great Emancipator, and Tennessee Johnson (1942), starring Van Heflin as Lincoln's successor, Andrew Johnson.


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