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The Lighthorsemen #FilmReview ‘The cinematography is epic and best viewed on the big screen”
November 12, 2017, 7:00 pm
Filed under: Film Reviews | Tags: , ,

The Lighthorsemen (PG)
War, Drama, Action. 1hr 57mins
Starring: Jon Blake, Sigrid Thornton, Peter Phelps, Garry Sweet.
The Lighthorsemen is currently available for mobile cinema events

Palestine, 1917. The British advance has been stopped by the Turkish line running from Gaza to Beersheba. The latest attack on Gaza has failed. The attacking forces included a regiment of Australian mounted infantry, the Light Horse… Lighthorseman Frank is wounded in a skirmish with Bedouin. He is replaced by a young soldier, Dave, who proves to be a crack shot, but reluctant to fire at the enemy. Dave proves himself during a German biplane attack. Recuperating in hospital, he meets a sympathetic nurse, Anne… The regiment is called upon for a bold flanking attack on Beersheba. But how do you convince the Turks the main attack will come at Gaza? And how do you attack across a desert without water?

The Lighthorsemen 2

War what is it good for? Providing the film industry with countless cinematic stories, and in this case the South Australian film industry. This 1987 production followed on the tale of the highly successful ‘Gallipoli’ made in 1981, except this time as the title suggests the soldiers are on horseback, as they mount an attack on Beersheba. This is an epic production and I imagine almost everyone who could ride a horse fast in South Australia was employed for a few months. In fact the climatic charge of the Lighthorsemen included many Lighthorsewomen as well.

The cinematography is epic and beautiful, and is best viewed on the big screen. Which was how I viewed it, when I projected it at the Gumeracha Town Hall, marking 100 years since the charge in 1917. The film itself marking 70 years since the attack when it was released in 1987. Despite the epic beauty of the cinematography the story tends to wander around following several different angles including a romantic angle between wounded soldier Dave Mitchell (Peter Phelps) and nurse Anne (Sigrid Thornton). This story thread tends to hold the most screen time and is actually based on a real life romance where they were married following World War 1.

Where the film takes an interesting angle is with the character Dave Mitchell. As his initial journey into war was one of revenge following the death of his brother. However faced with the reality of killing, he chokes putting everyone at risk. But don’t worry he does get a chance to redeem himself without killing anyone in the process.

The real highlight of the film is the charge. Feeling like a mix of ‘The Man From Snowy River’ and ‘Mad Max’. Not surprisingly the man behind the lens Dean Semler shot Mad Max 2 & 3 and you see his trick of keeping the camera extremely low to the ground during the charge, just like the action in ‘Mad Max’. Making it feel incredibly fast and dangerous, especially as things are exploding all around. This cinematography combined with expert editing makes this sequence breathtaking.

The Lighthorsemen is a well crafted epic war film, that unfortunately meanders around a bit long where it doesn’t need too.

Rating ★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★

The Lighthorsemen is currently available for Road Movie Mobile Cinema events. Please contact us for a film copyright quote for your next pop-up outdoor or indoor cinema event in South Australia or Victoria

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 7.53.46 pm

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