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40000 horsemen

Australia / 1940 / 100 min / DCP / B&W / War

Director : Charles Chauvel

Script : Elsa Chauvel
Cinematography : George Heath
Editing : William Shepherd
Music : Lindley Evans
Production : Charles Chauvel

Cast : Grant Taylor, Betty Bryant, Chips Rafferty, Pat Twohill

Three young Australians, Red, Larry and Jim, join the army at the beginning of World War I and are assigned to the Australian Light Horse cavalry. In 1916 Jerusalem, German troops led by Von Schiller arrest a French wine seller for spying and hang him. His daughter Juliet goes into hiding dressed as a boy and starts spying on the Germans. The three mates are enjoying themselves on leave in Cairo, when called to fight the Turks. They take part in several battles. Red is separated from the others after one battle and has his life saved by Juliet. The three soldiers will eventually participate in the attack during the Battle of Beersheba, which was the last cavalry charge in modern warfare.


Charles Chauvel

Charles Chauvel was born in Queensland, Australia in 1897. He went to Sydney to study drama and then to America. He returned to Australia and in 1926 made his first feature film, "The Moth of Moonbi". His other films include "In the Wake of the Bounty" (1933), a film which launched the career of Errol Flynn, "40 000 Horsemen" (1940) an account of the Australian Light Horse, "The Rats of Tobruk" (1944) a drama set in north-east Libya where the Australian soldiers were fighting Rommel's forces, "Sons of Matthew" (1950) a story based upon the lives of the O'Reilly family who had been pioneers in Australia, "Jedda" (1955) the first colour feature film made in Australia. Over the next few years, Charles and Elsa travelled around Australia, making a series of documentaries for the BBC, before Charles died suddenly of a heart attack in 1959.


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