Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Lighthorsemen (Movie Review)

Why review a movie this old (an Australians movie, circal 1988)? Well, the fact is that most movies are available these days, whether on DVD, VHS, or Turner Classic Movies. I recently saw The Lighthorsemen (rating 96 out of 100) on VHS. I expect it is on DVD now. If not, it should be. The second reason to review older movies is that "modern" movies are generally so bad that most people should be taking advantage of modern technology to view primarily older movies. For example, The Lighthorsemen should have easily won Best Picture this year, if it were able to compete against the actual nominees. It is far superior to Slumdog Millionaire.

This movie is about the Australian "lighthorsemen" (mounted infantry) fighting in Palestine in 1917 (Palestine always having been a battleground). You will see somewhat jarring references to "Gaza", and other modern battlegrounds (including Jeruselum). The climax of the movie is the cavalry charge by 800 Australian horsemen, against cannon and machine guns, that captured the city of Beersheba--against all odds.

Yes, this was the "Charge of the Light Brigade" all over again, by mounted infantry yet, but successful. The movie shows the big picture but concentrates on individual stories of the individual soldiers, including a love story between a soldier and a nurse--as well as that soldier's too pat fight with his revulsion against killing.

These individual stories are not bad, by modern standards, but are not that different from every other war movie featuring stories of individual soldiers at war. The acting is adequate, but not outstanding.

What distinguishes his movie from any other ever made is the horses. This is the best movie of horses at warm, and the relationship of mounted soldiers and hostesses, ever made. The climactic charge is the best cavalry charge ever filmed. I can't even describe to you how impressive the filming of horses is in this movie. You have to see the movie to believe it.

In fact, the most unbelievable thing about this movie is the statement that appears on screen at the end: "No horses were killed or injured in the filming of this movie". Considering the mere number of horses filmed at full gallop in this movie--much less falling at a full gallop--you will wonder about this statement. It seems impossible. Yet love for horses screams from this movie. As I say, it is by far the best film ever made of horses at war.

If you have a chance to see this movie, you should--unless you just can't stand war movies.

No comments: