Combustible Celluloid
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With: Campbell Scott, Vivian Schilling, Nathan Darrow, Bruce Heinrich, Kip Niven
Written by: Brian James Egen, Don Maxwell, based on stories by Ambrose Bierce
Directed by: Brian James Egen, Don Maxwell
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 93
Date: 09/15/2006

Ambrose Bierce: Civil War Stories (2006)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Bierce Creatures

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This made-for-TV movie briefly received a 2006 theatrical release in New York, and as a confessed short story junkie, I decided to check it out. Campbell Scott disappears into his role as writer Ambrose Bierce, who has left the employ of William Randolph Hearst (Nathan Darrow) and the San Francisco Examiner to pursue a life writing short stories. Hearst turns up at Bierce's hotel, meeting Bierce and his writing protégé Gertrude Atherton (Vivian Schilling). Bierce then reads three of his short stories: "Story of a Conscience," "One Kind of Officer" and "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." Co-directors Brian James Egen and Don Maxwell do their best with an obviously limited budget, shrouding their battle sequences in fog, and their "Owl Creek Bridge," uses basically the same ideas and rhythms as the great 1962 short film from Robert Enrico (famous for having been aired on "The Twilight Zone"). But the power of Bierce's stories and the connecting sequences make this a worthy little film. Hannover House released the DVD at the tail end of 2006.

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