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The Horse Soldiers (1959)

Approved | | Adventure, Romance, War | 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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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Dunker
...
...
Deacon Clump
Chuck Hayward ...
Union Captain
...
Jackie Jo
...
Virgil
...
Commandant
...
Col. Jonathan Miles
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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 »


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

The 1st Michigan Cavalry Regiment served in the Eastern theater in 1863, most notably in the Army of the Potomac during the Battle of Gettysburg, and so would not be in a brigade within General Grant's army. See more »

Quotes

Col. John Marlowe: [offers his hand to Kendall] I don't blame you if you... slap it away. Shake hands?
[they shake]
Col. John Marlowe: So long, Croaker.
Major Kendall: Take care, Section Hand. And if you should run into another doctor...
Col. John Marlowe: Yeah, I know... tree moss.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: John Wayne (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

When Johnny Comes Marching Home
(uncredited)
Traditional
Lyrics by 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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