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After a cavalry group is massacred by the Cheyenne, only two survivors remain: Honus, a naive private devoted to his duty, and Cresta, a young woman who had lived with the Cheyenne two years and whose sympathies lie more with them than with the US government. Together, they must try to reach the cavalry's main base camp. As they travel onward, Honus is torn between his growing affection for Cresta, and his disgust for her anti-American beliefs. They reach the cavalry campsite on the eve of an attack on a Cheyenne village, where Honus will learn which side has really been telling him the truth. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In order to recreate the gory Sand Creek massacre of Cheyenne Indians, director Ralph Nelson sought the services of orphaned amputees. Various prosthetic limbs were affixed to missing body parts of these amputees, and then, in one of the most blood-and-guts sequences in film history, these "limbs" were mercilessly hacked off as the cameras rolled. See more »
The voice-over at the end of the film describes the events we have just witnessed as taking place in 1864.However,earlier in the movie Honus tells Cresta that his father was killed at the battle of Little Bighorn which occurred in 1876. See more »
Don't miss the beginning at any cost.Or else you would not hear Buffy Sainte-Marie's eponymous anthemic song (Yes this is my country,young and growing free and flowing from sea to sea...).The version of the song as performed here features a string arrangement not present in the original version (which is to be found on BSM's "she used to wanna be a ballerina",vanguard).This song is as moving today as it was 30 years ago,and when the singer implores "can't you see there's another way to love her?" it gains an universal meaning(not only American natives or Vietnamese as it was mooted at the time for the movie)
The movie is famous for the slaughter which ends it.Terribly realistic ,it remains impressive today and may repel some viewers.There's a very strong use of the score during these scenes.But most of the movie deals with the initiatory journey of a young naive soldier,"educated " by a woman who was captured by the Indians and had to live with them for a while.Candice Bergen's performance came aside as a shock at the time because she used to play frail young maids (Robert Wise's "the sand pebbles";Claude Lelouch's "vivre pour vivre" ) before.But there's a problem:her character is not really believable;just compare her with the heroines with a similar fate in Ford's movies :"the searchers" ,1956;"two rode together",1961..They are far from Crista 's outspoken and politically aware character.Actually ,it seems that this woman is a contemporary woman,with Joan Baez's, Buffy Sainte-Marie's or Jane Fonda's mind (in the late sixties)..
For all that,"soldier blue " is worth watching and superbly uses wide screen :the landscapes match Sainte-Marie's song.Primarily an intimate movie,for most of the time there are only two people on the screen.Hence the contrast with the violent finale.
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