Forty Thousand Horsemen

189. FORTY THOUSAND HORSEMEN (1941-Australia). With CHIPS RAFFERTY, GRANT TAYLOR, BETTY BRYANT. “When Germany stretched greedy hands toward the Middle East in the war Of 1914-1918, a great cavalry force came into being. They were the men Of Australia and New Zealand-the ANZACS-the ‘mad bushmen’-the men from ‘Down Under.’ Call them what you willÑtheir glories can never grow dim…. They fought and suffered to emerge triumphant!” This superbly made war movie, a tale Of rousÂing adventure and bittersweet romance, Of inspiring courage and noble sacrifice, takes us to the legendary lands beset by strife since ancient times-to Jerusalem, Cairo, Gaza, Beersheba and the Sinai Desert. In order to stop the evil German war lords from taking the Suez Canal and other areas vital to the survival Of the free world, thousands Of gallant horsemen journey across scorching desert (“an agony Of thirst and heat”), conÂfront German machine guns, engage in fierce hand to hand combat, and participate in the most heroic cavÂalry charges since the days Of the American West. It’s all here: thrilling Combat scenes; magnificent panoraÂmas Of men and horses moving along the horizon; the haunting strains Of Australia’s favorite song, “Waltzing Matilda”; the camaraderie Of brave soldiers facing imminent death; and even brief moments Of romance. (An intriguing subplot involves the love affair Of a cavalryman and a Frenchwoman, who is deterÂmined to avenge her father’s brutal death at the hands Of the Germans, and who boldly travels with the enemy-disguised as a boy!). The message was clear to 1941 audiences faced with an even more ominous German war machine; as the film tells us, the cavalrymen’s sons now say “the torch you threw to us we caught. And now our hands will hold it high. Its glorious light will never die!” 84 minutes. Combat Drama