Picky, picky, picky. No matter what efforts to achieve Civil War-era verisimilitude the filmmakers of "Gettysburg" tried for, it's that darn fake-looking facial hair on all those uniformed officers that's got some movie critics tangled up in giggles.
The Times' Peter Rainer may have been one of the kindest when it came to note the hirsute qualities of certain actors fitted with stick-on beards. Gen. Robert E. Lee's salt-and-pepper whiskers, Rainer said, made Martin Sheen a good double for old St. Nick. As for Tom Berenger, playing Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, he's "saddled with a thatch that makes him look like an Amish elder."
Washington Post critic Hal Hinson didn't want to understate how he felt. The cast of "Gettysburg," he said, "falls victim to some of the worst facial hair in movie history." He singles out Berenger, who for him bears quite a resemblance to the "founding member of ZZ Top." And with a hat switch, Jeff Daniels, a.k.a. Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, could be mistaken for Yosemite Sam.
But it was Baltimore Sun reviewer Stephen Hunter who really got fanciful with the similes: Berenger (again) "looks as if the lower part of his face is being devoured by a rabid Chia pet on steroids. And when he and another bad beard, Richard Jordan, have an emotional chat in a tent one night, you feel as if you're in the presence of the Smith Brothers and you begin to yearn for a cherry cough drop."
At least, his last comment was sweet.
New Line, the film's distributor, had nothing to say.