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The Horse Soldiers [Blu-ray] [1959]

60 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: John Wayne, William Holden, Constance Towers, Hoot Gibson, Ken Curtis
  • Directors: John Ford
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Sept. 2013
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,467 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

John Wayne teams with William Holden and eminent western director John Ford for this frontier actioner “packed with laughter, romance and thrills” (The Hollywood Reporter). Based on one of the most daring cavalry exploits in history, The Horse Soldiers is both a moving tribute to the men who fought and died in that bloody war and a powerful, action-packed drama. In command is hard bitten Colonel Marlowe (Wayne), a man who is strikingly contrasted by the company’s gentle surgeon (Holden) and the beautiful but crafty Southern belle (Constance Towers) who’s forced to accompany the Union raiders as they force their way deep into Southern territory to destroy a rebel stronghold at Newton Station.


A crisp retelling of a true-life episode from the Civil War, The Horse Soldiers is a latter-day sorta-Western from John Ford, falling midway between The Searchers (1956) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). In 1863 a Union colonel named Grierson (Marlowe in the film, and John Wayne by any name) led his cavalry several hundred miles behind Confederate lines to cut the railway track between Newton Station and soon-to-be-embattled Vicksburg. Grierson's raid was as successful as it was daring, and remarkably bloodless. Never fear that the screenplay makes up for that un-Hollywood lapse--as well as supplying amatory distraction for the colonel in the form of a feisty Southern belle (Constance Towers) who has to be dragged along to protect secrecy.

There's a certain amount of bombast in the running arguments about wartime ethics between Marlowe and the new regimental surgeon (William Holden), who don't take to each other at all. But Ford more than makes up for it with such tasty scenes as an encounter with a couple of redneck Rebel deserters (Denver Pyle and Strother Martin), an ethereal swamp crossing led by a cornpone deacon (Hank Worden), and above all the famous skirmish with a hillside full of young cadets from a venerable military academy. The film ends rather abruptly because Ford abandoned a climactic battle scene--the veteran stunt man and bit player Fred Kennedy having been killed in a horse-fall. Golden-age cowboy star Hoot Gibson, who acted in Ford's directorial debut, Straight Shooting (1917), appears as Sergeant Brown. --Richard T. Jameson, -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 April 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Colonel John Marlowe (John Wayne) is asked to take his Union calvary troop deep into Confederate territory to destroy the railroad and depot at Newton Station. Much to Marlowe's chagrin, regimental surgeon Major Henry Kendall (William Holden) is also along for the mission. With both men completely at odds with each other as regards adherence to duty and the execution of war. Things are further complicated when the brigade rests at Greenbriar Plantation, because Miss Hannah Hunter (Constance Towers), the plantation's mistress, and her slave Lukey (Althea Gibson) eavesdrop on a staff meeting thus hearing the plans about the raid. To protect the mission, Marlowe is forced to take the two women with him.

John Ford's venture into the American Civil War is adapted from Harold Sinclair's novel of the same name. The story is based around the true story of Grierson's Raid and the climatic Battle of Newton's Station, which was led by Colonel Benjamin Grierson who, along with his men, rode hundreds of miles behind enemy lines in April 1863 to blow up the railroad between Newton's Station and Vicksburg, Mississippi. Thus giving Confederate General John C. Pemberton a whole heap of problems.

What is at first the most striking thing about The Horse Soldiers is the chemistry between Holden and Wayne, friends in real life they were and my how does it show here. It gives the film a real sense of believability, the characters may be at odds as the ideological conflict between the military and the medical professions shows its hand, but a respectful, almost friendly rivalry shines thru from the two icons of machismo.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pete Johnson VINE VOICE on 24 April 2013
Format: DVD
This 1959 film is essentially a mainstream western, and a vehicle for the stars, John Wayne, and William Holden. Directed by the master of the western film, John Ford, it tells the true story of a famous Union raid, deep into enemy territory, in 1863; when almost 2,000 cavalry made the journey of over 200 miles to Newton Station, to destroy the railroad connection to Vicksburg.

As this is very much a Hollywood action film, some liberties are taken. Holden plays the part of an Army doctor, constantly at loggerheads with Wayne's character, and there is a female interest, in the shape of a Southern belle, and would-be spy, played by Constance Towers. All this froth aside, the film actually manages to give an exciting and accurate portrayal of these events during the Civil War, as well as allowing the Confederates encountered, to be shown as brave and dignified opponents.

Although it tries to be more of a cowboy film, than a serious film about an actual battle, it strangely succeeds in ending up as both. Two memorable set pieces involve the students from a Confederate Military Academy, attempting to stop the Union column, and the Rebel attack at Newton Station, as ragged troops arrive by train, to mount a forlorn charge.
Surprisingly good.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. E. A. Williamson on 27 Nov. 2013
Format: Blu-ray
While never regarded as a top tier John Ford western by critics, film scholars or indeed fans probably down to the fact that this 1959 effort came between two of Fords most memorable films in the form of The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Horse Soldiers still remains an interesting and entertaining entry with two strong performances by Ford's regular hero star John Wayne and William Holden fresh off a sterling performance in David Lean's Bridge On The River Kwai. Commercially successful and as to be expected from John Ford very well made, The Horse Soldiers also marks the only movie he directed that was set primarily around the American civil war.

Now I will not go into detail on the synopsis of The Horse Soldiers as there are dozens of detailed reviews here already so I concentrate on what I find most important when reviewing a classic film on Blu ray disc. How does it look and sound. The Horse Soldiers comes saddled with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer framed at the correct aspect ratio of 1.66:1. It appears that MGM havent given this title much of a restoration and indeed it can look very untouched and not at all polished but that isnt necessarily a bad thing as the image remains extremely filmic thanks to a wonderful grain structure. Now this film has always been a grainy picture and fans can rejoice in the fact that no DNR has been used to smooth away this grain meaning that the image retains its strong textures and detail. Clarity whether it be on faces, clothing or locations is suprisingly good and depth is apparent in the many outdoor daytime scenes. Colours are mostly good from the greens of the vegitation to the blues of the Yankee uniforms and skin tones on the whole are mostly natural looking.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The acting is fairly standard fare and you get to know the story line in the opening titles.
An eventful journey to the very end and hangs together all the way. It runs through a full course of basic human emotions without too much melodrama, notable exceptions for example, when the Wayne character loses the plot in the saloon bar scene in newton station - can a man that large really be 'feeling his liquor' after just 2 shots?
The relationship between Wayne and Tower and Wayne and Holden dissect in importance towards the end and the way the former is portrayed verges on the endearing - surely a rare Wayne moment.
Makes some social and political comments - although I've never been quite sure if it was intended to question prevailing issues in the 1950s or just simply conservative reflections on the civil war.

I've been watching this movie since about 10 years old - one of few movies that bares watching many times over across life changes.
9 out of 10

I'm still trying to find a copy of this movie with the scene at the rail station as the replacement Sargent is trying to get on the train but Wayne's men drag him off to return him to base. Any suggestions welcome.
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