The Horse Soldiers (1959)

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    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas

    For continuity, all discussion
    please post here:-
    Duke's Movies- The Horse Soldiers

    Information from IMDb

    Plot Summary
    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.

    Full Cast
    John Wayne .... Col. John Marlowe
    William Holden .... Maj. Henry 'Hank' Kendall (regimental surgeon)
    Constance Towers .... Miss Hannah Hunter of Greenbriar
    Judson Pratt .... Sgt. Maj. Kirby
    Hoot Gibson .... Sgt. Brown
    Ken Curtis .... Cpl. Wilkie
    Willis Bouchey .... Col. Phil Secord
    Bing Russell .... Dunker, Yankee Soldier Amputee
    O.Z. Whitehead .... Otis 'Hoppy' Hopkins (medical assistant)
    Hank Worden .... Deacon Clump
    Chuck Hayward .... Union captain
    Denver Pyle .... Jackie Jo (rebel deserter)
    Strother Martin .... Virgil (rebel deserter)
    Basil Ruysdael .... The Reverend (Jefferson Military Academy)
    Carleton Young .... Col. Jonathan Miles, CSA
    William Leslie .... Maj. Richard Gray
    William Henry .... Confederate lieutenant
    Walter Reed .... Union officer
    Anna Lee .... Mrs. Buford
    William Forrest .... Gen. Steve Hurlbut
    Ron Hagerthy .... Bugler
    Russell Simpson .... Acting Sheriff Henry Goodbody
    Althea Gibson .... Lukey (Hannah Hunter's maid)
    Sarge Allen .... Union officer (uncredited)
    Danny Borzage .... Ned (uncredited)
    Richard H. Cutting .... Gen. William T. Sherman (uncredited)
    Fred Graham .... Union soldier (uncredited)
    Sam Harris .... Passenger to Newton Station (uncredited)
    Stuart Holmes .... Passenger to Newton Station (uncredited)
    Stan Jones .... Gen. Ulysses S. Grant (uncredited)
    Fred Kennedy .... Soldier (uncredited)
    Roy Kennedy .... Wrangler (uncredited)
    Jack Pennick .... Sgt. Maj. 'Mitch' Mitchell (uncredited)
    Charles Seel .... Newton Station bartender (uncredited)
    Jan Stine .... Union General (uncredited)
    William Wellman Jr. .... Bugler (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Harold Sinclair (story)
    John Lee Mahin (screenplay) and
    Martin Rackin (screenplay)

    Original Music
    David Buttolph

    William H. Clothier

    Jim Burk .... stunts (uncredited)
    Everett Creach .... stunts (uncredited)
    Chuck Hayward .... stunts (uncredited)
    Tom Hennesy .... stunts (uncredited)
    John Hudkins .... stunts (uncredited)
    Fred Kennedy .... stunts (uncredited)
    Cliff Lyons .... stunts (uncredited)
    Dean Smith .... stunts (uncredited)
    Ted White .... stunts (uncredited)

    John Ford suspended location filming in Louisiana after Fred Kennedy was killed performing a riding stunt. The film was later completed in California.

    The film marked the beginning of mega-deals for Hollywood stars. John Wayne and William Holden received $775,000 each, plus 20% of the overall profits, an unheard-of sum for that time. The final contract involved six companies and numbered twice the pages of the movie's script. The film, however, was a financial failure, with no profits to be shared in the end.

    The film is based on the true-life raid by Col. Benjamin Grierson who, as shown in the movie, began his expedition--known as Grierson's Raid--from LeGrange, Tennessee, in April of 1863.

    When John Wayne (Col. Marlow) first meets William Holden (Maj. Kendall), he accuses him of being out of uniform because he is not wearing his sidearms. In that particular scene, Marlow is wearing a cavalry sword. But throughout the rest of the film, Marlow does not wear any sidearms. Even when the Confederate forces are charging through the street and one of his junior officers offers him a pistol, he waves it off.

    The quote at the Greenbriar dinner, "And yet your fair discourse hath been as sweet as sugar making the hard way sweet and delectable" is from "Richard II", Act II Scene 3 by William Shakespeare.

    Director John Ford's only feature film set during the Civil War, although he did direct a segment of How the West Was Won (1962) that was set during the Civil War.

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

    * Anachronisms: Although the film takes place in 1863, Dr. Kendall is shown boiling surgical instruments to prevent them from infecting patients, a process that was not developed until 1879, by Dr. Louis Pasteur.

    * Anachronisms: At the film's end, Dr. Kendall tells Col. Marlowe that he has decided to stay behind with the wounded Union soldiers. Col. Marlowe replies, "Even if it means Andersonville [a notorious Confederate POW camp]?" Andersonville did not exist in 1863, when this film was set; it was established in 1864.

    * Continuity: When Doc Kendall examines the soldiers in line, he walks from left to right. When he is seen from behind the soldiers, he is walking the opposite way.

    * Continuity: When Col. Marlowe asks a soldier for Maj. Kendall, his neckerchief knot is under his chin. When he enters in the colored people's shack, where Maj. Kendall is, his neckerchief knot is turned to his left shoulder.

    * Continuity: When Doc Kendall is examining Dunker's leg, there is a soldier holding a lamp with his left hand. Between shots the lamp is in his right hand.

    * Continuity: Deacon Clump talks to Col. Marlowe holding his hat in front of him. In the next shot, when Marlowe leaves, his hat is in his head.

    * Anachronisms: The Confederate flags used in the movie are Army of Tennessee pattern and did not come into use until March of 1864.

    * Factual errors: 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.

    * Anachronisms: The saddles used on the horses are a mix of "Western" style and Army "McClellan" saddles. However, the McClellan saddles used are brown and of the 1904 pattern, whereas the 1859 McClellan that was in use was a black saddle.

    * Continuity: In the hotel bar at Newton Station Col. Kirby breaks a bottle of whiskey tucked in the front of Sgt. Kirby's trousers . The trousers are already wet from a previous take.

    * Factual errors: The film is set in the Spring of 1863 as part of Grant's campaign against Vicksburg, which fell on July 4, 1863. The soldiers discuss their fear of being captured and sent to the notorious Confederate prison at Andersonville, the construction of which started in December, 1963.

    * Factual errors: Although listening through stove pipes at Greenbriar helped move the plot along , it was merely a contrivance . Southern plantation houses at that time were not heated by cast iron stoves but by wood-burning fireplaces through chimneys at each end of the house.

    * Anachronisms: Early in the movie, Ken Curtis is shown playing a fretted banjo. Frets were not added to banjos until the 1880s. When they were first added, most players tried to file them off.

    * Anachronisms: Although the story is set in 1863, all the soldiers are wearing 1872 pattern cavalry uniforms.

    * Factual errors: The Jefferson Military Academy was fictitious. The scene was filmed at the old Jefferson College campus. The civilian college was closed during the civil war.

    * Factual errors: The national flag seen in the opening scene is incorrect. Either a cavalry guidon with the national colors or a square flag would be more correct for a cavalry regiment.

    * Crew or equipment visible: In the house at Greenbrier after Major Kendall, Miss Hunter, and Lukey come down the stairs, shadows are visible on the landing above and behind them. The shadows are not in line with any visible light source, suggesting the presence of a spotlight hidden behind the chair at the right of the scene.

    * Anachronisms: At the end of the officers' conference Colonel Marlow states; "No glory hunting Richards. Anything knock this into a cocked hat it'll be a firefight." The term "firefight" did not come into use until the end of the 19th century.

    * Anachronisms: In the scene where Sgt. Kirby is about to shoot the head of the Jefferson Military Academy, he referred to the Reverend as a "Holy Joe". The term did not come into being until approximately 1875.

    * Anachronisms: In many scenes, Hannah is clearly wearing a bra, a garment invented in the 1890s and finally patented in 1913. Moreover, her bras are the "pointed" style popular in the 1950s.

    * Factual errors: The movie exteriors appear to have been shot in the fall, but the raid takes place in April 1863.

    * Continuity: When the rebels from the train charge up the street the flag bearer is shot and a man with a beard and green jacket picks it up. Shortly after wards the flag bearer is in shot again but its a younger man and the man with the beard and green jacket picks it up again.

    * Anachronisms: The artillery guns shown in the last two battles (military academy and bridge crossing) are not Civil War era pieces, being far too old.

    * Anachronisms: At the beginning of the engagement with the boys from the military academy, Colonel Marlow orders "Assembly" be sounded. It is clear from the immediately preceding shot, that many of the troops are not only not mounted, but the horses are not even saddled. Therefore, the correct bugle call would have been "Boots and Saddles".

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Alexandria, Louisiana, USA
    Homochitto River, Mississippi, USA
    Jefferson Military College - Highway 61, Washington, Mississippi, USA
    (cadet school)
    Louisiana, USA
    Mississippi, USA
    Natchez, Mississippi, USA
    Natchitoches, Louisiana, USA
    Texas, USA
    The Lot - 1041 N. Formosa Avenue, West Hollywood, California, USA
    Washington, Mississippi, USA

    Previous Discussion:-
    Question About The Horse Soldiers

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    For continuity, all discussion
    please post here:-
    Duke's Movies- The Horse Soldiers

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 13 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • The Horse Soldiers is a 1959 DeLuxe Color war film, set in the American Civil War,
    directed by John Ford, starring John Wayne, William Holden and Constance Towers.
    The film was based on Harold Sinclair's novel of the same name.

    The team of John Lee Mahin and Martin Rackin
    both wrote the screenplay and produced the movie.

    The movie is based on the true story of Grierson's Raid and the climactic Battle of Newton's Station,
    led by Colonel Benjamin Grierson who, along with 1700 men, set out from northern Mississippi
    and rode several hundred miles behind enemy lines in April 1863 to cut the railroad
    between Newton's Station and Vicksburg, Mississippi.
    Grierson's raid was part of the Union campaign, culminating in the Battle of Vicksburg.
    The raid was as successful as it was daring, and remarkably bloodless.
    By attacking the Confederate-controlled railroad it upset the plans
    and troop deployments of Confederate General John C. Pemberton.

    What I can't work out is this??
    John Ford made FOUR cavalry films,
    but we only ever hear of a trilogy!!!
    In my mind, The Horse Soldiers was the other one!!
    I've always liked this one,and is high amongst my favourites.
    In fact since this film, I have always been wary of stoves in the lounge!!!

    The film started off well, and was pushed along by Uncle Jack's enthusiasm, for Civil War films.
    However, sadly, the film falls away towards the end, as Jack lost interest,
    due to the untimely death, in the making of the film, of one of his stuntmen, of some 25 years.


    This is noticeable in detail, and as screenwriter Mahin, quoted,
    It was awful,they charged across that damed bridge,, and not one guy fell off the saddle

    I still, rate this film, as one of my favourites

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().