They Died With Their Boots On Reviews
Trivia Tidbit: Flynn and DeHavilland's last film together.
George Armstrong Custer is a rebellious teen with delusions of grandeur. He attends Westpoint where he remains on the brink of getting kicked out. A huge war breaks out over the plains between the white man and the Indians and captains are in short supply. Out of an act of desperation, Custer is anointed Captain of a key regimen in the mid west. The story of Custer and his affairs with the Indians historically unfolds.
"You little, fat, pipsqueak!"
Raoul Walsh, director of Objective Burma, High Sierra, White Heat, The Roaring Twenties, They Drive by Night, and Band of Angels, delivers They Died with their Boots On. The storyline for this picture is just okay. The character development and subplots are pretty good and I enjoyed the acting, but the overall film felt kind of average to me. The cast includes Errol Flynn, Arthur Kennedy, Olivia de Havilland, Charley Grapewin, Anthony Quinn, and Gene Lockheart.
"No white man will set foot on sacred soil."
I grabbed this movie off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) when I discovered it starred Errol Flynn. I generally enjoy his classics but I found this to be just okay. Custer was presented in a very interesting and compelling way but the overall direction of the picture is kind of bland. Overall, I'd see this once but wouldn't go out of my way to see this picture.
"I don't think your stay will be very long with us, Mr. Custer."
The horse scenes in this movie are fantastic. Does Hollywood still have enough men to get 200 guys on horseback at the same time? Can they move a regiment worth of horses thru their paces together? I love the scene where Custer rides into the ambush and you see the Indians horses riding out of the trees in the background. The timing and staging of the scene is really well done. And the stunts in the finale are amazing. In one of them an Indian rides into the group of soldiers, past a bunch of men laying on the ground, gets shot, falls off his horse, gets his foot caught in the stirrup, the horse wheels and drags him off into the distance. That's just one of dozens of stunts that are happening simultaneously. Very impressive work.
I picked it up because I was researching Garryowen after the scouts at my son's summer camp sang it. This has a very different version of Garryowen, but it's very well done here. The many different versions spread throughout the film really tie all the different scenes together.
I can't give the film more than 3.5 stars due to the shockingly off story, but the film making is really top notch.
One problem I have with this movie as I do with a lot of older films is there seems to be this recurring theme of a man and woman meeting and deciding after a 2 min conversation that they're going to get married. I guess it's supposed to be romantic, "love at first sight" but I just find it goofy and hard to believe. Having said that I would marry Elizabeth bacon in a second, she's the classic good wife.
The best thing I can say about this movie is that usually when I hear 40's and western I think slow and boring, but this movie kept me entertained the whole time.
George Armstrong Custer: To hell, Sharp... or to glory. It depends on one's point of view.