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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Custer: Symbol v. Human Being.
The purpose of "Son of the Morning Star," both the book and the miniseries, was to show that George A. Custer is not just a symbol, good or bad, for culural/political causes, but a human being with flaws and attributes. A previous review is a perfect example of the failure to see Custer as anything but as a symbol. To some people, Custer is the embodiment of...
Published on July 17 2004

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Cole and Arquette miscast in their roles
And the actor who portrayed Benteen was even worse. He had a perpetual scowl and looked truly angry at the world, not just at Custer. Gary Cole looked more suitable to be riding a Harley, zipping around with his mouth agape. Arquette was her usual air-headed self, and did a grave injustice to Libby Custer's memory. Some of the supporting cast was wooden as is the case...
Published on April 13 2002 by george sweeney


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Custer: Symbol v. Human Being., July 17 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Son of a Morning Star [Import] (VHS Tape)
The purpose of "Son of the Morning Star," both the book and the miniseries, was to show that George A. Custer is not just a symbol, good or bad, for culural/political causes, but a human being with flaws and attributes. A previous review is a perfect example of the failure to see Custer as anything but as a symbol. To some people, Custer is the embodiment of the evils of Manifest Destiny. It's an ironic fate for someone who died in the most spectacular, albeit temporary, setback for Manifest Destiny.
Custer is a fascinating historical figure because of his symbolism. So many people have such strong feelings about him for what he represents, but so few people really know anything about him. Born the son of blacksmith in a rinky-dink Ohio farm community, Custer was no son of privilege. Yet he was a brigadier general at age 23, a major general at age 25, and fought with great courage and skill in America's most horrific war. It never ceases to amaze me how people throw slurs at the officers and men of the Indian fighting army, but ignore that a large percentage of those men fought with undeniable heroism to re-unite this country and free the slaves. Custer, Reno, Benteen, Cooke, Yates, Keogh, Tom Custer, Smith, and a number of other officers of the 7th Cavalry were all Civil War vets.
Attacks on Custer's courage for "fighting women and children" just demonstrates an ignorance of his Civil War combat record and the realities of Plains Indian warfare. Custer graduated college in June 1861 and a month later he saw action at Bull Run. In April 1865, he would receive General Lee's flag of truce near Appomattox. In between, he saw action in almost every campaign in the Eastern theatre of operations. Even after he became a general, he still exposed himself to danger and was often seen fighting in hand to hand combat. At Appomattox, his superior, General Sheridan awarded him the wooden table, upon which General Grant signed the papers of General Lee's surrender, as a gift of appreciation for his magnificent courage and leadership.
Yet people believe that such a ferocious combat commander reveled in fighting women and children! Plains Indians didn't fight like Rebels. They had a different concept of warfare from the U.S. Army- guerrilla tactics, hit and run. To the Army, the biggest difficulty of Plains Indian warfare wasn't fighting the Indians, it was finding them! In 1876, the biggest fear the U.S Army had was that the Lakota and Cheyennes would scatter before the Army could attack them and this mentality was the reason for Custer's decision processes on June 25. The Army had been forced to attack villages because this was the only effective method it had of forcing the Indians to stand and fight. Yes, women and children would die as a result and this was regrettable, but so were civilian casualties at Vicksburg and Atlanta. However, on June 25, 1876, the Army completely underestimated the Lakotas' and Cheyennes' willingness to stand and fight. Custer thought he would be pressing the issue, but instead had the battle dictated to him with catastrophic results for himself and his men. This "arrogance" was a mindset held not only by Custer, but the entire U.S. Army and they paid for it on June 25.
"Son of the Morning Star" was an attempt to present Custer and the Little Big Horn not just as symbols. Another reviewer mentioned "Little Bigman" as being a more historically accurate potrayal. That is absurd. While "Little Bigman" is a very entertaining film, it's as unrealistic as the 1941 movie "They Died with Their Boots On" which starred Errol Flynn. Flynn's Custer was portrayed as the ideal American military hero for a country that was preparing for World War II. In 1970's "Little Bigman," Custer is shown as a symbol of lunatic American imperialism as the country clashed over the Vietnam War. "Son of the Morning Star" was an attempt to show Custer as a human being without World War II or Vietnam era propaganda. This miniseries does take a lot of dramatic license with its subject, but in comparison to previous efforts on the Custer/Little Big Horn story it's refreshing in its candor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Done!, April 17 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Son of a Morning Star [Import] (VHS Tape)
This is as good a version of the Little Bighorn that has ever been done for film.
Gary Cole is very good- although he does not look like a horseman. Unfortunatly, Rosanna Arquette, who plays Libbie Custer the General's wife, seems just to be interested in collecting a paycheck. She is as wooden as it gets. However, I think David Strathairn, a regular of John Sayles' films, does an excellent job as Capt. Benteen. Although, the horrendous wig he is outfited with detracts from his performance, he does capture, IMHO, the cranky complainer personality of Benteen very well. (Anyone familiar with the writings of Fred Benteen can tell you he WAS angry with the world.)
"Son of the Morning Star" relied on the services of dedicated re-enactors who brought a sense of authenticity to the uniforms and equipment not seen in other Little Bighorn movie re-creations. Unfortunatly, although re-enactors are great at dressing their parts, they don't often look their parts- the 7th Cavarly was not as heavily populated with middle-aged, overweight men as "Son of the Morning Star" would have you believe.
Finally, the outfit Gary Cole is wearing for the Little Big Horn scenes is based on an actual photo. In 1875, a picture was taken of Custer at a picnic near Ft. Lincoln wearing a hat and a white buckskin jacket, which look alot what was depicted in the movie. Of course, we don't know if Custer wore that outfit a year later, but that photo shows that the producers for the movie just didn't make it up. However, the movie's Little Big Horn scenes show Gary Cole with his face shaven and hair immacutely clean, conditioned, and styled. Hardly realistic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars From the other side of the event, Dec 7 2010
This review is from: Son of a Morning Star [Import] (VHS Tape)
I would like to add my two cents on the relatively untouched subject of the Indian portrayal: this is the first film I have seen on the subject which provides wide coverage of the Cheyenne and Lakota/Dakota perspectives, and gives them credit for the humanity and courage, combined with strong strategic abilities, which were demonstrated around the entire Greasy Grass campaign. I spotted many aspects which could only have come from oral traditions, including Custer's affair with a Cheyenne woman, which produced a daughter, and the piercing of his ear drums after the battle. Much of the film checks out closely with archaeological work done since the great battlefield grassfires of the 1980s, and the emergence of Native accounts of the events of that year which followed. I urge my university classes to read the book and see the film. As one reviewer has already said, this is the best we will probably see for another generation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Release this to DVD now!!!!, Feb. 27 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Son of a Morning Star [Import] (VHS Tape)
A very well done production even though two of the main characters were miscast.
One of the best Custer films made but with many inaccuracies and typical Hollywood foul-ups.
But still, very entertaining.
This needs to be released onto DVD uncut and with the making of the movie A.S.A.P.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Cole and Arquette miscast in their roles, April 13 2002
By 
george sweeney (jefferson, nc United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Son of a Morning Star [Import] (VHS Tape)
And the actor who portrayed Benteen was even worse. He had a perpetual scowl and looked truly angry at the world, not just at Custer. Gary Cole looked more suitable to be riding a Harley, zipping around with his mouth agape. Arquette was her usual air-headed self, and did a grave injustice to Libby Custer's memory. Some of the supporting cast was wooden as is the case in some of these biopics, as they seem to be just filling the space of real characters and are usually portrayed with not much personality of their own. As all Custer historians know, everything concerning the movements of the five troops with Custer is purely speculative. After passing
the bluffs no one saw them alive and their movements have been the subject of hot debate for many years. The Hollywood version portrayed here is as good as any, and the terrain should look familiar to anyone who has spent time at the Battlefield, as it was filmed a short distance away, showing that rolling, treeless terrain that is easily recognized. Thumbs down to the costume designer who came up with the supposedly buckskin outfit Cole wore. It looked like the bleach bottle got loose in the wash. in truth the troopers were dirty, grimy, and on a day that had temperatures in the 90's, Custer would surely have not been zipping around in a full, well tailored buckskin outfit.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good enough to get you started reading the real history, March 20 2002
By 
Priamsdaughter (Moreno Valley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Son of a Morning Star [Import] (VHS Tape)
Without a doubt, this is the best fictionalization of the Battle of Little Big Horn available today. I have watched it many times and the acting and overall effect eclipse the saccharine Dances with Wolves in every category including the musical score. If you are an historian of the event, armchair or otherwise, numerous inaccuracies and omissions will strike you as they did me. That is the beauty of this movie: it stirs you to find out the real and complete story. Read the books including Grinnell's, the books on the recollections of the Arikara scouts and Lakota Noon, the Story of Wooden Leg etc. and the Hearings on Reno's role that tell you so much more you need to know to understand this event. The desire to do so may be this movie's most lasting legacy and its greatest tribute to the Native Americans and soldiers who died June 25 and 26, 1876.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Close to being historically correct, Oct. 27 2001
By 
Gary D. Thorington (toppenish, washington) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Son of a Morning Star [Import] (VHS Tape)
This film has many wonderful attributes, which one is being filmed close to the actual sites. The casting is great and Gary Cole does a surpurb job as General Custer. The casting was excellent all the way around.
The film portrays George Custer soon after the American Civil War was over and Custer is ordered to report to the central plains to help maintain the peace between the white immigrants and the various Indian tribes.
I especially liked the sets of this film which looked more authentic then previous films concerning the Little BigHorn battle. Fort Lincoln and Fort looked very similar to the real thing. Another major asset to the film is the Indian perspective to the film. It shows their side and the casting was excellent.
One critical thought is that the part played by Tom O'Brian playing Charlie Reynolds was called by another name in the film. This could have been easily corrected to maintain historical accuracy. Charlie Reynolds was a major figure in the last Custer Campaign.
If you are interested in the life of General George Custer I would recommend in buying this film. The musical score is excellent. There are of course other historical errors by in all this film portrays the LBH more accurately then the previous films.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a movie about the TRUE general Custer, July 20 2000
This review is from: Son of a Morning Star [Import] (VHS Tape)
I find that son of a morning star is the best cinema work about general Custer and the battle of Little Big Horn of the cinema's history ! All american people MUST see this movie for learning what was really the general Custer. I advise all people to see this movie, it is very very very very very good. If it will be more than 5 stars for rating it, it would have more ! GARY COLE IS WONDERFUL IN CUSTER, THE INDIAN ACTOR OF CRAZY HORSE TOO. ROSANNA ARQUETTE IS GREATLY IN LIBBY, AND THE LITTLE INDIAN GIRL TOO. SIMPLY THE BEST MOVIE ABOUT CUSTER, LITTLE BIG HORN AND THE INDIAN'S WAR !
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5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling & Historically Accurate as Hollywood Can get, June 29 2000
By 
James Riddle (Millbrae, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Son of a Morning Star [Import] (VHS Tape)
Son of The Morning Star is an anomoly in Hollywoods treatment of historical material: It is 90% historically accurate. Custer is depicted ( a great Gary Cole ) as the half mad / half sane egocentric individual he was according to historians. This is no heroic crock like 'They Died With Their Boots On' or cartoon Custer depiction like 'Little Big Man'.
Striking perhaps most of all is the shown banality of genocide and it's seeming normalcy. Just like real life.
The film has the feel and psychlogical under current of a Documentry film. James Riddle
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5.0 out of 5 stars Morning Star Masterpiece, June 14 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Son of a Morning Star [Import] (VHS Tape)
A friend of mine lent me a tape of Son of the Morning Star. Having no interest in the subject, I fast forwarded to the end to watch the Last Stand. Seeing a theatrical quality, I rewound a little bit. Hearing the incredible music, I went back a little more. Soon, I was watching the tape from beginning to end. What an experience. The cinematography was better than most movie movies. The acting, especially Gary Cole and David Strathairn was great, and THAT MUSIC, what a score by Craig Safan. How this gem of a film didn't get more recognition is beyond me. If you haven't seen this yet do your self an immense favor.
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