Palestine, 1917. The British advance has been stopped by the Turkish line running from Gaza to Beersheba. The latest attack on Gaza has failed. The attacking forces included a regiment of ... See full summary »
Palestine, 1917. The British advance has been stopped by the Turkish line running from Gaza to Beersheba. The latest attack on Gaza has failed. The attacking forces included a regiment of Australian mounted infantry, the Light Horse... Lighthorseman Frank is wounded in a skirmish with Bedouin. He is replaced by a young soldier, Dave, who proves to be a crack shot, but reluctant to fire at the enemy. Dave proves himself during a German biplane attack. Recuperating in hospital, he meets a sympathetic nurse, Anne... The regiment is called upon for a bold flanking attack on Beersheba. But how do you convince the Turks the main attack will come at Gaza? And how do you attack across a desert without water? Written by
Historically accurate and meticulously researched, this is one of the genre of "federation-era" war productions in the 1980's by the Australian film industry. The high-quality movies and mini-series of this collection included such titles as "Breaker Morant", "Gallipoli" and "ANZACS", and one can see obvious similarities in the techniques and methodology used in their production. This, however, does not detract from their appeal or their entertainment value; quite the reverse, in fact. The formula for this genre was to take an historically-documented campaign and translate it as faithfully as possible to the big screen, with emphasis on characterisation, accuracy of detail and background.
The formula works, because the characters are believable, and the situations, events and settings have been faithfully re-created. Much of the background and information for this genre came from personal diaries and military archives preserved over the years, which adds credence to the plots, the action and the stories.
"The Lighthorsemen" highlights the campaign of the Australian mounted rifles in the North Africa battleground of the Great War, and culminates with the last successful action of horse-riding troops in combat. Without giving away the story too much, the taking of Beersheba in the closing days of 1918 was a decisive event in military history, and the screen portrayal of this action will have you on the edge of your seat.
Masterful performances by Jon Blake, Shane Briant and Bill Kerr (all veterans of this movie formula,) the attention to detail, the drama, and the occasional humour make for a very entertaining movie. It's recommended viewing.
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