Review: ‘The Horsemen’

The Horsemen is a would-be epic stretched thin across Hollywood's 'profound peasant' tradition. It's a misfire, despite offbeat Afghanistan locations and some bizarre action sequences.

The Horsemen is a would-be epic stretched thin across Hollywood’s ‘profound peasant’ tradition. It’s a misfire, despite offbeat Afghanistan locations and some bizarre action sequences.

Omar Sharif, son of rural Afghanistan clan leader Jack Palance, is injured and humiliated (he thinks) in a brutal ritual soccer-type game played with the headless carcass of a calf. Returning home in company of his now treacherous servant (David De) and a wandering ‘untouchable’ out for his money (Leigh Taylor-Young), Sharif’s leg is amputated below the knee in a remote mountain village. Back with his clan, Sharif forgives De and Taylor-Young for two attempts they made on his life and then trains hard to reestablish his honor and reputation as the greatest horseman in the area.

Dalton Trumbo’s cliche script, based on the novel by Joseph Kessel, opts for the kind of mock-poetic dialog even Hugh Griffith might have trouble mouthing. Sharif, however, maintains his composure.

The Horsemen

Production

Columbia. Dir John Frankenheimer; Producer Edward Lewis; Screenplay Dalton Trumbo; Camera Claude Renoir; Editor Harold Kress; Music Georges Delerue Art Dir Pierre Thevenet

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 108 MIN.

With

Omar Sharif Leigh Taylor-Young Jack Palance David De Peter Jeffrey Mohammed Shamsi
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