Tuesday, May 3, 2011

'The Horse Soldiers' Open Thread

What did you think?


  1. I love that first picture of John Wayne. He's a hard man who will do his duty and take no guff doing it... not a happy man at all... but a good man.

    It was a great little scene when he first meets Sgt Major Kirby, who got drunk when they pulled him to replace the Colonel's aide.

    "They said you're good. Well, mister, you better be. You're replacing the best soldier in the army."

    "You can keep the army, Colonel"

    "Sargeant Major Kirby, you're drunk. I could have your stripes for that"

    "You're welcome to them, Colonel"

    "Kirby, you tangle with me, I'll have your hide."

    "You're welcome to that too sir, if it's in the line of duty."

    I should have it by tomorrow. This could be a good one!

    May 3, 2011 11:27 AM

  2. Didn't get to finish last night, but I am enjoying it. I particularly like the way we learn about the main characters -- and their very human inconsistencies -- layer by layer, as they discover each other.

    Back later!

  3. I really enjoyed the interplay of the characters in The Horse Soldiers. I loved the gruff, irritable manner of John Wayne, who was still a gentleman all the same. When the troupers assigned to watch Miss Hunter offered that he had instructed them to watch Miss Hunter from the head up, to his obvious embarrassment, and her outraged reaction, that was a pretty great moment. I also loved his handling of the two deserters that had strung up the elderly local sheriff, his befriending them for information to Miss Hunter's obvious disgust. All the while Major Kendall, who didn't know the Colonel that well but still well enough, observed the scene with a knowing smile. True to form, the Colonel calls for a pair of riding gloves and lays out the deserters, handing them over to the sheriff, along with a loaded pistol. At that moment you're just sure he is playing for the approval of Miss Hunter, which makes it all the richer when in explaining himself to her he brushes it all aside, comparing his distrust for them with the same lack of trust he had in ... her. That was great, with his sardonic smile and the tossed off "That's right" as he rides away from her. Too much fun!

    In my view, the calvary singing and the battle scenes were not where the action was. I enjoyed the various minor actors that fleshed out the story, of course, but the fireworks here was all in the interaction of Colonel Marlowe, Major Kendall and Miss Hannah Hunter. This was a good old show.

  4. I have to agree that the interactions among the main characters were the most interesting elements of the show. And sometimes it was really one character simply observing another, sometimes enjoying what he already knows about the other, like Major Kendall watching the show Col Marlow put on with the deserters, or discovering something about one of the others, like Kendall's recognition of the feelings Hannah develops toward Marlow before she is fully aware of them herself.

    I thought the scene with Hannah assisting Kendall with Marlow's bullet wound was particularly moving -- she is so distressed for Marlow's sake, seeing the pain; her face shows how much she hurts for him, but she knows that there is no word of sympathy she can offer that he would want to hear.

    All the "grim reality" scenes were done pretty well i thought (and I have to admit I was a little worried about them when I saw how things were going!) -- not that they soft-peddled the effects of ancient weapons, but I didn't feel that the solemn treatment was manipulative.

    But I will say I have problems with the ending. Like, Geez, what a cruddy ending! I thought it was great that Marlow came to love Hannah, and all the incremental disclosures about her character supported his attraction and regard. She was smart and passionate, and if he believed her passions and loyalties to be ill-informed, he was also able to see the courage and compassion that drove her to do what she could to help the wounded from either camp.

    So he tells her he loves her and rides away. And Kendall stays with the wounded men, knowing he'll likely end up in Andersonville. I certainly liked seeing all the main characters drawing on the best and noblest sides of their characters, but if there was ever a movie that made me wish for a sequel, this is it!