What Do You Feel Like Doing Tonight, Angie? By Bill Kauffman - April 15, 2014 2 Reading Time: < 1 Facebook Twitter Email Print Let’s rent (or buy!) Copperhead, which is being released today on DVD/BluRay. RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR The Stump Not Throwing Away My Shot: Alexander Hamilton and the Militarization of the American Police Education & Liberal Learning The College and the Community: A Strange Saga in Tallahassee The Nightstand The Man Who Saw the Bear Culture, High & Low Brass Spittoon: Ken Myers on Three Decades (almost) of Mars Hill Audio Short Tech Monopolies, Church Forests, and Publish and Perish The Stump Civic Muscle: A Political Physiology 2 COMMENTS I recommend this unusual film. Here are some examples of the dialogue. Near the beginning of the film, for example, Republican Benjamin Wade is quoted as saying “anyone who quotes the Constitution in the present crisis is a traitor.” (Historian Frank Klement writes that Wade actually said that). Beech rightly is appalled by Wade’s statement. This sets the tone for the film. Later, Peter Fonda’s character, Avery, a Republican, has the following conversation with Abner Beech, the Copperhead: Avery: I don’t want to see politics tear our community apart. Abner: Already has. Avery: It’s your Democrats who have rent this country asunder. Abner: It’s Abraham Lincoln and his Republicans tearing us apart and the Constitution, closing down newspapers, putting critics in prison, enlisting mere boys to fight in his unconstitutional war. Avery: Well, what would you have President Lincoln do? The Rebs fired first at Fort Sumter. Abner: He should have let the South go. They have never harmed us. Avery: Not harmed us? No, they’ve split the Union in two, just so they could keep black men in bondage. Abner: I am not a slaver. I’ve never even seen a slave, but the Constitution says its none of York state’s business what Dixie does. Avery: And those slavocrats, they’re not satisfied with their little corner of the country. They want to expand, into Kansas, into Nebraska, into New Mexico. Good Lord, they wanted us to steal Cuba, too. How does that fit into your beloved Constitution? Abner: I am no party man. I’m no expansionist neither. I don’t want Cuba. Hell, I didn’t even want Texas. But I do not want our boys dying. And I don’t want the Constitution dying with’em. Avery: The Union, Abner. Doesn’t the Union mean anything to you? Abner: It means something. It means more than something. But it doesn’t mean everything. My family means more to me. My farm. The Corners means more. York State means more to me. And though we disagree, Avery, ye mean more to me than any Union. Good day to you. Avery: Good day, Abner. Later, Abner says this about war in general. Abner: War is a … it’s a fever, son. It’s a fever and you get head up, and the fever puts you out of your right mind, and you do things you wouldn’t do if you weren’t sick. You kill, you maim, lose sight of who you are, where you live. It’s like you got no kin no more. No neighbor. You lose … you lose your bearings, and you don’t know who you really are. Critics have panned the film for being slow (which it is in parts) and morally obtuse, but there is some wisdom in this unusual war film. Thanks for the tip. I wanted to see it in the theaters and I know it played at some theaters in the Landmark chain, but it didn’t make it to our three Landmark theaters in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I guess I have to apologize to all for renting it on Amazon Instant Video, which is about as non-localist as you can get. Enjoyed it. Extremely contemplative piece about a side of American history that doesn’t get talked about, much less taught, a whole lot. Comments are closed.