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The Horse Soldiers (1959)

 -  Adventure | War | Western  -  12 June 1959 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 5,558 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 26 critic

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 ... See full summary »

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(written for the screen by), (written for the screen by), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Horse Soldiers (1959)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Judson Pratt ...
...
...
...
...
Dunker - Yankee Scout Who Has Leg Amputated
O.Z. Whitehead ...
...
Chuck Hayward ...
...
Jackie Jo
...
Virgil
Basil Ruysdael ...
The Reverend - Jefferson Military Academy
Carleton Young ...
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 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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

John Ford's Thundering Spectacle 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director John Ford suggested the scene with the boys' military academy, and according to the producers, he ad-libbed it. See more »

Goofs

Union soldiers are using Springfield breech-loading carbines, but these didn't appear until at least 1871, five years after the war's end. See more »

Quotes

Major Kendall: [preparing to fight] What are the rules gonna be, Colonel?
Col. John Marlowe: Make up your own.
Major Kendall: [hits Marlow in the jaw as he is taking off his blouse] You said no rules.
See more »

Connections

References To Catch a Thief (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

When Johnny Comes Marching Home
(uncredited)
Music traditional, lyrics by Patrick Gilmore aka Louis Lambert
When Marlowe's forces split
See more »

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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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