Review: ‘The Lighthorsemen’

Toward the end of this epic about Aussie cavalry fighting in the Middle East in 1917, there's a tremendously exciting and spectacular 14-minute sequence in which soldiers of the Light Horse charge on German/Turkish-occupied Beersheba. It's a pity writer and coproducer Ian Jones couldn't come up with a more substantial storyline to build around his terrific climax.

Toward the end of this epic about Aussie cavalry fighting in the Middle East in 1917, there’s a tremendously exciting and spectacular 14-minute sequence in which soldiers of the Light Horse charge on German/Turkish-occupied Beersheba. It’s a pity writer and coproducer Ian Jones couldn’t come up with a more substantial storyline to build around his terrific climax.

Focus of attention is on Dave Mitchell, very well played by Peter Phelps. Opening sequence, which is breathtakingly beautiful, is set in Australia and involves young Dave deciding to enlist in the Light Horse after seeing wild horses being mustered for shipment to the Middle East.

Main story involves four friends (Jon Blake, John Walton, Tim McKenzie, Gary Sweet) who are members of the Australian cavalry, chaffing because the British, who have overall command of allied troops in the area, misuse the cavalry time and again, forcing the Australians to dismount before going into battle.

The principal leads are very well played, with Phelps a standout as the most interesting of the young soldiers. Walton scores as the quick-tempered leader of the group, while McKenzie creates a character out of very little material. Topbilled Blake is thoroughly charming as Scotty.

The Lighthorsemen

Australia

Production

RKO/Picture Show. Director Simon Wincer; Producer Ian Jones, Simon Wincer; Screenplay Ian Jones; Camera Dean Semler; Editor Adrian Carr; Music Mario Millo; Art Director Bernard Hides

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 128 MIN.

With

Jon Blake Peter Phelps Tony Bonner Bill Kerr John Walton Anthony Andrews
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