The Lighthorsemen (film)

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The Lighthorsemen
DVD box art
Directit biSimon Wincer
Produced biJan Bladier
Antony I. Ginnane
Ian Jones
David Lee
Simon Wincer
Written biIan Jones
StarninPeter Phelps
Sigrid Thornton
Tony Bonner
Gary Sweet
John Walton
Tim McKenzie
Anthony Andrews
Bill Kerr
Jon Blake
CinematographyDean Semler
Eeditit biAdrian Carr
Distributit biHoyts
Columbia TriStar
Release date
Rinnin time
124/131 meen.
Box officeA$1,617,288 (Australie)

The Lighthorsemen is a 1987 Australian featur film anent the men o a Warld War I licht horse unit involved in the 1917 Battle o Beersheeba durin the Sinai an Palestine Campaign. The film is based on a true story an maist o the chairacters in the film war based on real fowk.

It follaes ither Australian New Wave war films sic as Breaker Morant (1980), Gallipoli (1981), an the 5-pairt TV series Anzacs (1985). Recurrin themes o thir films include the Australian identity, sic as mateship an larrikinism, the loss o innocence in war, an forby the continued comin o age o the Australian naition an its sodgers (the ANZAC speerit).

Plot[eedit | eedit soorce]

The film follaes fower Australians, Frank (Gary Sweet), Scotty (Jon Blake) a Erse-Australian, Chiller (Tim McKenzie) an Tas (John Walton) in Palestine in 1917, pairt o the 4th Light Horse Brigade o the Breetish an Commonwalth Dominion forces. Whan Frank is woundit an dees o his wounds, he is replacit bi Dave (Peter Phelps). Dave finds himsel unable tae fire his wappen in combat an is transferred tae the Medical Corps, whaur he willna need tae cairy a wappen, but whaur he will still be exposed tae the fechtin.

The Breetish plan the captur o Beersheba. Durin a onfaw bi Turkis cavalry, Major Richard Meinertzhagen (Anthony Andrews) deliberately leaves ahint documents indicatin that the onfaw on Beersheba will anely be a diversion.

The Australians flit for Beersheba, wi limitit watter an supplies. Thay bombard the toun an the 4,000 Turkis-German defenders prepare for a assault. Houaniver, the German militar advisor believes it is a diversionary onfaw an advises the Turkis commander that he disna need reinforcements.

Wi time running oot an watter in short supply, the Breetish command suspect ony attack upon Beersheba will probably fail. Houiver, the Australian commanders ask the Breetish tae send in the Australian Light Horse—the Breetish consent tae what thay think is a suicide mission. The 4th an 12th Light Horse Regiments are ordered tae attack. Dave an the rest o the medical detachment prepare for casualties an are ordered in behind the Light Horse.

The Turks report the Australian mounted soldiers lining up tae charge, houiver the officer in charge orders the Turks nae tae open fire until thay dismount. The Australians begin advancing on the Turkish poseetions, gradually speeding up tae a charge. The Turks realise too late that the soldiers are nae dismounting an open fire. Artillery fire is sporadic an of leemitit effect an the attack sae fast the Turkish infantry forget tae adjust the sights on thair rifles as the Light Horse get closer, eventually firing straucht ower the Australians' heads.

During the charge, Tas is killed bi an artillery shell. The remainin Australians mak it "under the guns" (advancing faster than the artillery can correct its aim for the reduced range) an reach the Turkish trenches.

The Australians captur the first Turkish defences. Scotty an a few others tak control o the guns. Chiller is wounded in the trench fecht. Dave is struck bi a grenade an is seriously wounded while protecting Chiller. Scotty continues tae fecht on intae the toun. When maist o the remainin Turks surrender, a German officer tries tae destroy the wells, but is captured bi Scotty.

Oweraw, the attack wis a success an the Australians miraculously suffered anly 31 dead an 36 wounded.

Production[eedit | eedit soorce]

The script wis written bi Ian Jones, who haed lang been interested in the Australian Light Horse ever syne thay featurt in an episode of Matlock Police in 1971. He visited Beersheba in 1979 an haed researched the period thoroughly. Simon Wincer came on buird as director an he succeeded in helpin secure a $6 million pre sale tae RKO. Antony I. Ginnane's Film an General Holdings Company succeeded in raisin the rest o the money.[2] Simon Wincer later claimed that Ginanne, Ian Jones an himsel haed tae put in thair ain money at some stage when the film looked lik fawin ower.[3]

Despite bein set in Palestine an Egyp, the film wis shot entirely on location in Victoria an Hawker, South Australia.

Efter the final day of filmin haed wrapped on 1 December 1986, actor Jon Blake wis injured in a car accident near Nectar Brook, South Australia. He suffered permanent paralysis an harn damage.[4]

The muisical score wis componed bi Mario Millo. The oreeginal soundtrack recording wis produced for compact disc release courtesy of Antony I. Ginnane bi Philip Powers an Mario Millo for Australian distribution in Australia bi 1M1 Records an as a coupling wi Shame on LP in Americae.

The movie wis re-cut tae a shorter lenth for the US release, which Wincer thocht made the seicont hauf better, awtho he did nae lik the openin as much.[3]

Historical inaccuracies[eedit | eedit soorce]

The banner on General Kressenstein's car is in the film reid-white-black. In reality the banner o the German Empire wis black-white-red (black-white stands for Prussia, white-red for the Hansa).

Reception[eedit | eedit soorce]

The film received positive tae mixed views frae critics. Rotten Tomatoes gies it an 80% approval rating, based on five reviews.[5] An unfavourable review came frae The New York Times, who stated the film wis "a sort of pacifist-aggressive war adventure" an that "None of the performances are really bad, but none are very good".[6] The Washington Post an aa gae the film a negative review, describit it as "Mostly ... equine cinematography, a four-legged coffeetable movie about the Australian cavalry.".[7]

The Lighthorsemen is included in the Australian Film Commission's Top Australian films at the Australian box office leet at nummer 83. The film grossed A$1,617,288 in Australia efter its release in 1987. It wis an aa released in Canadae, Swaden, the United Kinrick, an the United States in 1988. It wis considered a commercial disappointment, yet Wincer claims its pre-sales an televeesion sales war aboot $6 million or 60% o the budget.[3]

The film won an AFI awaird in 1988 for Best Original Muisic Score an anither for Best Achievement in Sound.[8] It wis an aa nominated for Best Achievement in Cinematography.

Box Office[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Lighthorsemen grossed $1,617,288 at the box office in Australia,[9] which is equivalent tae $8,250,749 in 2009 dollars.

See also[eedit | eedit soorce]

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. "Australian Productions Top $175 million", Cinema Papers, March 1986 p64
  2. a b David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 pp. 27−29
  3. a b c Scott Murray, "Simon Wincer: Trusting His Instincts", Cinema Papers, November 1989 p79
  4. Blake, Jason (3 Juin 2011). "Movie-star future ends in a flash". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 Juin 2011.
  5. "The Lighthorsemen (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  6. "The Lighthorsemen (1987)". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 Juin 2009.
  7. "Neigh to `The Lighthorsemen'". The Washington Post. 30 Apryle 1988. Retrieved 27 Juin 2009.
  8. "AFI Award Winners Feature Categories 1958-2009". Archived frae the original on 7 Mairch 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  9. Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office

Fremmit airtins[eedit | eedit soorce]

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