Jack Dewitt

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A Man Called Horse Review


Excellent
Often (and rightly) noted as the predecessor to Dances with Wolves, A Man Called Horse offers a brave an unique performance by Richard Harris as a genteel aristocrat who's captured by the Sioux in 1825. First he's dragged through the land and treated like a dog, eventually he rises in rank to become their chief. The film's look, psychedelic editing, and lack of majestic scoring date it considerably, but Harris's harrowing performance (most notably his suspension in the air by blades stuck in his chest -- a ceremony called The Vow to the Sun, which looks impossibly real on screen here) is unforgettable. The film spawned two ill-regarded sequels in 1976 and 1982.

The Return of a Man Called Horse Review


OK
You just can't keep Horse down. Or in England. In this sequel to the jawdropping A Man Called Horse, our British-adopted Indian hero gets a pang in his heart and returns to the American Dakotas to find his former tribe besieged by the American army. The bulk of the film concerns his attempt to save them and fight back against the nearby U.S. Army fort. Sadly, none of the charm of the original (a former day Dances with Wolves that was almost entirely concerned with culture, not combat) is present in this straight-out shoot-'em-up flick. Not that it's bad, but you've seen it all before in umpteen rote westerns. Of course, in those movies the cowboys win, not the Indians...
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