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The Horse Soldiers (1959)

Approved | | Adventure, War, Western | 12 June 1959 (USA)
A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the ... See full summary »

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(written for the screen by), (written for the screen by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Judson Pratt ...
...
...
...
...
Dunker - Yankee Scout Who Has Leg Amputated
...
...
Chuck Hayward ...
...
Jackie Jo
...
Virgil
Basil Ruysdael ...
The Reverend - Jefferson Military Academy
...
Col. Jonathan Miles - CSA
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Storyline

A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. 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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...Rides Where Only The Great Ones Go! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | War | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 June 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der letzte Befehl  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene with the boys from the military academy was based on the actual Battle of New Market, in Virginia, where students from VMI fought with Confederate troops led by Gen John C. Breckenridge. See more »

Goofs

When the Union force is starting to hide from a passing Confederate unit across the river (which Ms. Hunter later tries to signal) Colonel Secord states "Why doesn't he [Colonel Marlow] stand and fight, he's got a full Brigade". This statement is completely incorrect and there is no doubt Secord would know that- Colonel Marlow states his unit will be "culled down to a short Brigade" at the very beginning of the movie when he is explaining his plan to Grant and Sherman. And by that point in the movie the 2nd Iowa had already separated from the other two regiments, which would barely be a brigade at all, let alone a "full Brigade". See more »

Quotes

Miss Hannah Hunter: [military cadets have opened fire] What are you going to do now *Mister* Col. Marlowe?
Col. John Marlowe: With all due respect, m'am, I'm gonna get the hell outta here.
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Soundtracks

Dixie
(uncredited)
Written by Daniel Decatur Emmett
Played during the charge of the Military Academy students
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User Reviews

 
William Holden and John Ford, in their first pairing...
14 November 2001 | by (Mexico) – See all my reviews

As the Civil War goes against the North, General Grant (Stan Jones) is unable to take the Confederate fortress of Vicksburg because the Confederates have it so well defended... He realizes necessity of cutting off that city's supply sources..

Col. John Marlowe (John Wayne) is assigned to take a small brigade of cavalry from Tennessee, ride hundreds of miles into the Confederate territory and destroy the railroad at Newton Station, Mississippi, thereby cutting the supply line to Vicksburg... To do it, he will have to avoid all contact with rebel forces until he has reached his target...

The first problem Marlowe encounters is Major Hank Kendall (William Holden), an obstinate surgeon who will be accompanying the force... Marlowe has the expected contempt of the combat soldier for his colleague who carries no arms... In addition, when Kendall asserts his rights as an officer in the medical corps to declare unfit any soldier he considers so, Marlowe and Kendall clash...

The next problem is Marlowe's second in command, Col. Secord (Willis Bouchey), who makes no secret of his plans to use his military career to further his strong political ambitions...

The third problem is the high-spirited belle Hannah Hunter (Constance Towers). This violent Southern patriot gives him an initial hard time... The Yankee soldiers stay at her plantation soon after they cross into the Confederacy... When Hannah learns their plans, Marlow is forced then to take her along with them for security reasons...

Holden and Wayne (violently opposing strong personalities) perform their assignment with a consummate force, intensity, and expert teamwork... Constance Towers, too, registers a vital presence... At their first dinner, she passes Wayne a platter of chicken... As she leans over, threatening to divulge her engaging décolletage, she says: 'Oh come now, Colonel, a man with a great big frame like yours can't just nibble away like a little titmouse. Now what was your preference, the leg or the breast?'

Incorrigibly sentimental and romantic in his big cavalry epic, Ford's motion picture is full of heroic cavalry on the skyline imagery... Among the more affecting scenes is that in which a harsh compassionate Wayne comforts a dying young soldier and the one in which he registers his love for Towers... There is also a compelling sequence, pure John Ford, in which a group of teenage cadets march out from a Southern military academy to take on the enemy, which makes manifest to battle boys and pulls a retreat, leaving the kids cheering...


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