This morning was the first time I’d watched Edward Zwick’s amazing Glory in at least 10 years, yet I remembered every single line of dialogue. Recalled how each scene would transpire, smirked as the faintest shot details popped back into my mind right before they’d commence on the tube.
Perfect signs that the movie in question is something special, just as powerful now as it was when I first watched it in 1994, as a fourth-grader, a kid in love with all things Civil War. My father, though he’s not an actual history teacher by profession, could go fact-for-date with any historian worth his/her rep in Civil War trivia, and he loved the fact that I was so intrigued by the North-vs-South combat of the 1860s. We took family trips to Gettysburg, Bull Run, and Harper’s Ferry, all major Civil War sites. My mother and older brother were miserably bored the entire time(s), of course, but my pops and I didn’t give a shit. Those were our vacations.
I can’t exactly recall what made me watch Glory at first, but, whatever the reason(s), that initial viewing became the catalyst for a solid year’s worth of daily watching. I’d come home from school, toss my bookbag on the floor, and, with Catholic school uniform still adorned, put in my dubbed-VHS copy of Glory and rewatch. If not the entire movie in one clip, then I’d at least jump around to the three stellar battle scenes: the opening at Antietam, the 54th of Massachusetts’ first battle at James Island, South Carolina, and the massive, tragic closing fight in Fort Wagner. Sitting with these scenes again this morning, it felt as if I was 10 years old again, peepers glued to the screen, heart pounding, eyes flirting with possible tears but ultimately giving the socket-liquid the old cold shoulder.
Last year, Spike Lee valiantly tried to give Black soldiers a new, vital voice with his WWII epic Miracle at St. Anna; only the film was extremely overzealous and messy. Lee should’ve alotted a day for a 24-hour Glory marathon. Would’ve made his St. Anna all the more effective, undoubtedly.
Glory still ranks in my top 10 all-time favorite films, the following two battle scenes (the second being Spoiler Heavy) huge pieces of the explanatory puzzle. If you’ve never seen Glory, go rent the damn thing immediately. Still watch these Scenes of Mine, though…..they’re so flippin’ good, that they work like crackerjacks both in and out of context [Scenes of Mine, after the jump]:
First, the film’s opening battle at Antietam; second, the closing one at Fort Wagner: