Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Horse Soldiers (1959)

A Colonel (John Wayne) in the Union cavalry leads a brigade behind enemy lines. His mission is to destroy a Confederate supply station and railroad line. While not one of director John Ford's greatest films, this one is still pretty solid. Based on an actual incident in the Civil War, the film does a good job of showing both the ugliness of war as well as its heroism without tipping the balance in either direction. There are a few miscalculations along the way, Ford uses the sequence of children as soldiers for humor rather than the insidious practice it is/was. Fortunately, for the most part, he's restrained himself from his usual misguided attempts at humor. As the conflicted Colonel, Wayne gives one of his best (if unsung) performances. This is a man who's doing his duty even if he dislikes what he must do. Holden's role as a cavalry doctor is rather colorless, more a foil to Wayne than anything else and Constance Towers as a treacherous Southern belle gets to do more than just being "the girl". Though there are battle scenes, the film comes across as more of what the effect the war has on its characters rather than an action movie. With Strother Martin, Anna Lee, Denver Pyle, Hank Worden, William Leslie and the tennis champion, Althea Gibson.

No comments:

Post a Comment