This latter-day sort-of Western from John Ford--falling midway between The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance--is a crisp retelling of a true-life episode from the Civil War. 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 railroad 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 grade-school 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, appears as Sergeant Brown. --Richard T. Jameson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The movie of course isn't accurate but that doesn't matter. The drama and action are great and there isn't any silly romance to ruin things. Constance Towers' presence helps in the development of John Wayne's character but doesn't slip into any thing that distracts from the main part of the movie.
There are also some great battle scenes. My favorite is the VMI cadet charge. This was also based on a real event that apparently wasn't as big of a deal as in the movie but is still interesting to read about if you get a chance.
I recommend this movie to all John Wayne and Civil War movie buffs.
John Wayne stars as Colonel Marlowe and is his usual great self. William Holden stars as Major Kendall, a doctor sent along on the mission who cannot get along with the Duke. It is revealed in the movie why Marlowe hates doctors so much. Constance Towers stars as Miss Hannah Hunter, a Southern belle forced to accompany Wayne and his men. Ken Curtis and Hank Worden are excellent as two of Duke's scouts with Denver Pyle and Strother Martin hilarious in a scene as two Confederate hillbillies. The DVD offers a cleaned up version with trailers added on. An excellent and exciting Duke classic well worth the price!
This film adaption of the Grierson's raid during the Vicksburg campaign gives us a close up look at the pain that war causes. Historical license it taken often Grierson the music maker becomes Marloe the engineer. Several battles are added to spice up the script, and the inclusion of the use of the Cadets harkens to a fameous battle a year later in Va.
It also give us pleanty of good subplotting in the roles, both in the ranks particlarly Sergeant Major Kirby who is loads of fun, and among the officers. It also contains some classic lines between Holden as a doctor who is regular army but a doctor first and Wayne a commander who doesn't like war, doesn't like doctors but does what needs to be done. "...the coffee tastes better when the latrines are dug downstream. How do you like your coffee Col?" as usual the actors who I refer to as the "John Wayne Guild" do their usual good supporting jobs.
In closing it is the interaction between Wayne, Towers and Holden, combined with the painting of war as something to be avoided that makes this movie a five stars classis vs just another John Wayne movie.
Most recent customer reviews
one of the duke's best early movies. any john wayne fan will love this one.Published 21 days ago by Art Mckie
More of the same. John Wayne saves the world or at least a small portion of it.Published 6 months ago by Leonard Tedds
The disc could not be played on my new DVD player therefore the purchase was a waste of time. I will not be purchasing any more from Amazon.
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