Thursday, 25 June 2009
Return of a Man Called Horse (1976)
Return of a Man Called Horse
Directed by Irvin Kershner
1970's A Man called Horse was an exceptional western and this 1976 sequel, whilst not quite as compelling as the original, is a worthy follow up. Lord John Morgan (Richard Harris) is fed up with his staid life in the UK, he's no doubt annoyed by the MP's expenses scandal, and so he decides to leave once more to join his brothers in the Yellow Hand Tribe.
Critic Judith Crist wrote at the time - "Maintains a tricky balance between nausea and boredom."
The pre-title sequence is 17 minutes long and serves as a prequel to the main narrative. We see that even when home in his British mansion, Morgan has not left his Indian Friends. His room is filled with memorabilia of his time with the Yellow Hand tribe.
When Morgan does return to the sacred burial grounds he finds that the people have been driven away by an evil band of trappers who enslave many Indians and construct a massive fort on sacred ground. What follows is an authentic look into the life of the Sioux in the early 19th century as Morgan goes through another painful ritual and persuades his Indian brothers to fight for what is theirs.
The attention to Indian life is incredibly detailed and Richard Harris puts in another great performance as the white man living among the Sioux. And there is a touching climax when the chief who died in the battle for land that has been theirs for centuries is buried in the sacred ground of his forefathers.
The film is currently available on a vanilla DVD from MGM - not so much as a trailer. Still it's an excellent movie.