Originally, Kevin Costner was to have played George Armstrong Custer, and NBC-TV had a "Costner is Custer" advertising campaign all set to go. When Costner was delayed on a film project, Gary Cole stepped into the part. See more »
While in a tent on the plains with his wife Libby, Custer complains to her that he is 'only a colonel'. In fact, Custer was a lieutenant colonel (LC) at the time, and should have used that complete rank title in this conversation. Although the one word 'colonel' may be used informally to denote an LC, in this case Custer's complaint was specifically directed at his actual rank, so he should have used its full title. (Incidentally, Custer had reached the temporary rank of major general during the Civil War. But like many general officers of that conflict, he reverted to a lower permanent rank after the war ended. It is out of respect for his former higher rank that several fellow 7th Cavalry troopers in the movie address him as 'general'). See more »
"Son Of The Morning Star" is by all accounts and definitions an epic. With a period backdrop, compelling characters, a cast of thousands and a span of ten years, "Morning Star" fits the mold of almost every made-for-tv-mini series. Yet you can't help but feel it's being confined on the small screen like a belt that's too tight on you. It has the look and feel of a theatrical feature, and would seem so much bigger on the big screen. But Mike Robe's gigantic effort is no movie of the week basic network fodder. It's the post-Civil War story of General George Armstrong Custer, his lovely and loyal wife Libbie, and Custer's Indian equivalent Crazy Horse, and the interesting chain of events that lead the two warriors to the gentle slopes of the Little Big Horn, or, more popularly, Custer's Last Stand. But, as the Indian female narrator Kate Bighead tells us, "it was not [Custer's] last stand...it was ours". The first half of the film seems somewhat confused of its real direction, and it's pretty much the movies only flaw. We meet the characters, soak in the rich setting of the western plains of our country, and are led through such happenings as Custer's court martialing for his harsh treatment on deserters, the training of his 7th cavalry, the somewhat flawed presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, who, apparently, is quite the anti-Custer, and to a lesser extent to all of this, the early days of the Cheyenne warrior Crazy Horse, played by underrated Native American actor Rodney A. Grant (Wind In His Hair from "Dances With Wolves", which is what I believe ultimatly helped greenlight this production). But besides that jumbled storyline, which really isn't all that jumbled, there are first rate acting scenes displayed by Gary Cole as our arrogant blond hero, who seems to really know his stuff when it comes to first person impressions. Rosanna Arquette is just going through the motions, and so is Dean Stockwell as Custer's superior in Washington, General Sheridan. But the real reward for sticking through this movie is the heart-wrenching climax of all movie climaxes, the Battle of Little Big Horn. Custer's actual Last Stand isn't until the final half hour, but boy is it worth the wait. Mike Robe really deserves some, heck, A LOT of credit for this logistical nightmare of a production. He takes us through Custer's final moments with true skill and utter authority. Combined with the poetic and professional lens job done by director of photography Kees Van Oostrum, and a lush orchestral score by Craig Safan, "Son Of The Morning Star" is a real piece of work, and should be considered a genuine cinematic triumph in the annals of western and dramatic film. Kudos, guys.
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