John Ford's The Horse Soldiers
John Ford's film the Horse Soldiers is a stimulating and changeless stunning success featuring John Wayne in one of his best acting performances. Wayne plays Colonel Marlowe a man that thinks that the Army's duty comes before being a humanitarian. Wayne runs into a pacifist-leaning surgeon Major Kendall (William Holden).
The film is set in 1863 as the practical-minded Colonel Marlowe is ordered by General Sherman to take a cavalry brigade 300 miles into enemy territory and destroy the railroad depot and all the tracks. Marlowe is a bitter man unhappy that two doctors, leaving him with only memories of her and a deep anger for doctors, unsuccessfully operated his wife on. There is no question of his ability to lead and his bravery in combat. He will stop his troops from firing on Rebel kid soldiers. Kendall is an equally persistent man, a medical man who is dedicated to saving lives and is willing to stand up to his superior to fight for what he believes in.
To add some spice and romance to the tale, Marlowe takes over Hannah Hunter's (Constance Towers) mansion. She has an attractive Southern belle who tricks him into thinking she is a bimbo, and thereby discovers his military plans. So he is forced to take her and her loyal Negro slave Lukey along. Hunter is well thought of by Marlowe for her horsemanship, loyalty to her cause. As the two fight with each other throughout, by the film's climax they find they are in love. For Ford it is another heavy symbolic moment, pointing out that the country will only stand strong when it can love one another again and learn to respect those who fought for what they believed in. Ford saves his anger for...