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A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply centre. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the commander. The secret plan for the mission is overheard by a southern belle who must be taken along to assure her silence. The Union officers each have different reasons for wanting to be on the mission. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
I have high praise for THE HORSE SOLDIERS, an absorbing, excellent Civil War movie about the Union cavalry during combat and based on some actual battles according to historians. The only flaw seems to be the casting of Constance Towers as the flirtatious, spirited Southern lady who becomes the unwilling captive of Col. John Marlowe (John Wayne) when he discovers that she is a Confederate spy. She goes along for the ride and provides the film's love interest. While she's certainly a capable enough actress, it's the sort of role that cries for a hot-tempered Maureen O'Hara who must have been busy in another role to pass up this choice romantic lead.
It's the sort of Ford film that must have been hard on the actors, riding through swamps on horseback and engaging in fierce battles when pursued by Rebel forces. William Holden has some wonderful moments as a doctor who is constantly bickering with John Wayne. Their exchanges provide plenty of tension and humor--and both actors are at their best under Ford's direction.
A good Civil War western combining magnificent photography, good performances and some rousing battle scenes. The horrors of war are not ignored and there are some sentimental moments that never strike a false note.
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