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4.5 out of 5 stars
84
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 6 June 2017
Based on a true story this is a well made and acted. Can be a bit corny for some as Wayne comes away with the usual clichés we expect from him but this is a good film. I have also been a fan of the "DUKE" since my childhood days.
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on 12 June 2017
Thanks for the delivery. A story about The Civil War: "Yankees (J. Wayne) v. Dixies". But not one of his best from this period. Every movie Wayne did in the 1960s is better.
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on 28 April 2017
great
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on 23 March 2017
great just upgraded to a blu-ray version
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on 26 May 2017
Brilliant film
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on 25 June 2017
Great deal, cant wait to order more
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John Wayne teams up with William holden and eminent western director John Ford for this frontier actioner packed with laughter romance and thrills. This faithful representation of one of the most daring cavalry exploits in history is both a moving tribute to the men who fought and died in the bloody war and a powerful action packed drama. Based on an actual civil war incident the horse soldiers tells the rousing tale of a troop of union soldiers who force their way deep into southern territory to destroy a rebel stronghold at Newton station. In command is hard bitten colonel Marlow (John wayne) a man who is strikingly contrasted by the company's gentle surgeon (William holden ) and the beautiful but crafty southern belle (Constance towers ) who's forced to accompany the union raiders on perhaps the most harrowing mission of war. 114 mind approx in colour a John Wayne classic I would highly recommend this.
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on 27 November 2013
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. Black levels are good enough with decent shadow detail and only a mild amount of crush. Softness does creep in occasionally and usually around scene changes which can look a little jarring and print damage is visable in the form of speckles and the occasional line but is thankfully nothing that would ruin the overall viewing enjoyment meaning that while this is never going to be a demo disc it is certainly an improvement over any previous release.

MGM remain authentic to source with the sound and instead of a 5.1 bump have opted for the original monaural mix presented here in a lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 track. This is ok whilst never being overly dynamic. Dialogue is mostly clear and music gets a healthy enough boost in lossless but the track can get a little muddled and cramped especially during battle scenes with both music and effects fighting for space. Thankfully though there are no real age related problems with pops, crackles and hiss kept to a complete minimum and sounds of gunshots and artillery whilst never room shaking have a good amount of weight.
Unfortunatly MGM havent included any extras for this Blu ray release apart from the original theatrical trailer presented in full HD 1080p.
Not the best Ford/Wayne movie out there but still a well made and thoroughly enjoyable cival war adventure that will please fans of John Ford, John Wayne and western completeists. Recommended

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The Horse Soldiers is usually damned with faint praise as one of John Ford's lesser Westerns, especially compared to his famed cavalry trilogy. It's not hard to understand why: despite the big budget and substantial resources it's more an okay film than a particularly good one, hobbled by a clumsily manufactured central conflict that simply doesn't ring true and a few too many plot turns that go nowhere. John Wayne is the ex-railroad engineer turned Union colonel sent behind Confederate lines to destroy their railroad tracks to disrupt their supply lines, which should be enough for a decent Western, but the film takes an early turn into the desperately contrived by having him take an instant dislike to William Holden's surgeon who has been foisted upon him - not because of a clash of personalities, which might make sense, but because he thinks doctors are charlatans using soldiers to experiment on... You can guess why he has that view long before he drunkenly reveals it, but the only way that it could have generated any real dramatic sparks if is Holden had been the doctor concerned instead of a nice guy who just rubs the Duke up the wrong way.

You know they'll eventually learn to respect each other but the scriptwriters can't really build any real drama out of such shaky foundations, and since they're also the producers there's no-one to tell them to go back and think about it some more, reducing Wayne to the usual default by-the-numbers grumpy and obstinate persona of his lesser pictures and Holden an amiable figure more bemused than frustrated by him. So to up the ante a little they have Wayne forced to take Constance Towers and her faithful slave Althea Gibson prisoner after they learn his plans, with the inevitable romance slowly brewing. In fact, much of what happens in The Horse Soldiers takes it's time to brew and it certainly never really comes to the boil. There are some good moments, like the battle at a railway depot, but others, like the threat of having to fight against children from a local military academy, are dodged because everyone just behaves too gallantly for this particular war. (The final battle sequence was also scaled down after the death of stuntman Fred Kennedy in a horse fall.) Still, you do get to see Hank Worden made up to look like Abe Lincoln's cousin and cinematographer William C. Clothier makes it look good, especially when Ford is filling the screen with men and riders, though it doesn't look quite as good as it should on a rather disappointing DVD transfer that's a definite step down from the old laser disc release and will hopefully have been remastered properly for Bluray. There are a few bits of print damage too, while the original captions identifying the locations have been removed and replaced with computer generated ones for the Region 2 DVD, which does at last include a brief trailer as an extra. MGM/UA's region-free Bluray apparently only has a longer trailer as extra with only marginally improved picture quality.
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VINE VOICEon 24 April 2013
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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