|Richard Basehart||Lt.Col Henry Wirz|
|George C. Scott||Director|
George C. Scott directed this made-for-television adaptation of Saul Levitt's award-winning stage drama, based on the true story of Andersonville Prison, a notorious Confederate prisoner of war camp in operation during the Civil War. In 1865, Captain Harry Wirz (Richard Basehart) is brought to trial to answer charges of murder and crimes against humanity pertaining to administration of the Andersonville Prison, where 13,700 P.O.W.'s met their death due to inadequate medical care, unchecked spread of dysentery, shoddy sanitation, and lack of proper food. While Wirz and his defense team contend the Captain was only following order and unable to prevent the tragedy, prosecutors counter with the argument that the chain of military command did not supercede his moral and ethical obligations to the men under his watch. The stellar supporting cast includes Cameron Mitchell, William Shatner, Jack Cassidy, Buddy Ebsen, and Martin Sheen.
|Sound:||[Dolby Digital Mono]|
I saw this play on network TV some 35 years ago and was impressed. That it has stayed with me so long is a measure of its power to make one ask questions about how they would act in the stressful conditions of war. Director George C. Scott keeps the production tight and lets his actors do the talking. Though the set is sparse, you'll be riveted as the story unfolds. The horrors of war are all the more telling, even when relayed second-hand by those giving testimony. When this program aired the nation was reeling from revelations of My Lai. In this time of moral questioning in the war on terror & the fallout from Abu Grab, this play still is just as relevant now as then. A bevy of solid character actors of old give good performances. Recommended.