The Return Of A Man Called Horse


2h 5m 1976

Brief Synopsis

An English lord who had once lived among the Indians returns to save his tribe from ruthless trappers.

Film Details

Also Known As
Return of a Man Called Horse
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Western
Action
Drama
Sequel
Release Date
1976
Production Company
United Artists Films
Distribution Company
United Artists Films
Location
South Dakota, USA; North Dakota, USA; Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 5m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Englishman John Morgan returns to America and to the Lakota Indian tribe that at one time adopted him. When John sees how the tribe's lands are being taken by white people, he joins forces with them to defend what it rightly theirs.

Film Details

Also Known As
Return of a Man Called Horse
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Western
Action
Drama
Sequel
Release Date
1976
Production Company
United Artists Films
Distribution Company
United Artists Films
Location
South Dakota, USA; North Dakota, USA; Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 5m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

The Return of a Man Called Horse


British actor Richard Harris had a major hit with A Man Called Horse (1970), playing John Morgan, an Englishman on a hunting expedition in the remote American West who is captured by the Yellow Hand Sioux. Nicknamed "Horse" by his captors, he undergoes a brutal ritual initiation to become accepted into the tribe, eventually leading them into victory over their enemies. Years later, Morgan is living in England again but feeling disconnected and empty inside. He returns to the West only to find his beloved tribe has been pushed off its land by vicious white trappers, backed by the U.S. government. Isolated and barely surviving, the remaining Yellow Hand are reinvigorated by Morgan's return. Once again, he undergoes the torturous initiation and emerges as a warrior to lead them into battle to regain their sacred land.

Critics weren't universally enthralled by the sequel, The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976), and questioned its epic pace and some shaky plot elements, such as the need for Morgan to be initiated once again, an obvious attempt to get more mileage out of the original film's most sensational scene. Some also noted that, in spite of its pro-Indian theme, the film exhibited considerable white chauvinism in depicting the tribe helpless and demoralized until the Englishman restores their spirit and teaches them, once again, how to fight for themselves. Nevertheless, other critics and audiences found the movie visually stunning and exciting. Reportedly, George Lucas was so impressed with Irvin Kershner's handling of the picture that he hired Kershner to direct Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

Credit must also go to cinematographer Owen Roizman for the acclaimed look of the film. Roizman earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Cinematographers in 1997 for his work on such films as The French Connection (1971), The Exorcist (1973), Tootsie (1982), and Wyatt Earp (1994).

Jack DeWitt took on screenwriting chores, as he did on the original A Man Called Horse, which was based on a story by Dorothy M. Johnson previously filmed in 1958 as an episode of the television Western series Wagon Train. Kershner has said that The Return of a Man Called Horse had the best music of any film he ever directed. He felt Laurence Rosenthal's score played like grand opera. Lucas must have been impressed by the composer's work, too; he was hired years later to write music for various television and made-for-video incarnations of Young Indiana Jones, produced by Lucas and based on his famous character.

The "white bias" that critic Roger Ebert and others noted in the story arc of The Return of a Man Called Horse was also reflected in the casting. Following a longtime Hollywood practice, many members of the Sioux tribe are played by Hispanic actors. Danish-American actress Gale Sondergaard was cast in the role of the Sioux matriarch Elk Woman. The first winner of a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award (for Anthony Adverse, 1936), Sondergaard had been blacklisted in the 1950s for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Her husband, director Herbert Biberman, was one of the Hollywood Ten, and his career was destroyed after being accused of being communist. She found work on the stage for many years until returning to film and television in the late 1960s. Despite her Scandinavian heritage, Sondergaard was dark and exotic looking, which often led to her being cast in various ethnic roles, notably as the deadly Eurasian in The Letter (1940). Sondergaard was initially set to play the role of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz (1939), but producers thought she was too beautiful. Director Mervyn Leroy, who very much wanted her for the part, retested her in ugly make-up, but her natural good looks were still considered unsuitable, and at any rate, she refused to look so unattractive on screen and turned down the role.

The Return of a Man Called Horse was the result of a partnership Harris had formed with Sandy Howard, who produced the original A Man Called Horse. Ironically, Harris was not Howard's preferred choice to play John Morgan in the first movie; he wanted Robert Redford, who went on to make the similar Jeremiah Johnson (1972). Howard and Harris teamed again for another, poorly received, sequel, Triumphs of a Man Called Horse (1982), in which a not very robust Harris appears in only a few scenes, with the bulk of the movie centering on Morgan's son, Koda (Michael Beck).

Director: Irvin Kershner
Producer: Terry Morse, Jr.
Screenplay: Jack DeWitt, based on characters created by Dorothy M. Johnson
Cinematography: Owen Roizman
Editing: Michael Kahn
Production Design: Stewart Campbell
Original Music: Laurence Rosenthal
Cast: Richard Harris (John Morgan), Gale Sondergaard (Elk Woman), Geoffrey Lewis (Zenas), Bill Lucking (Tom Gryce), Jorge Luke (Running Bull), Jorge Russek (Blacksmith).
C-126m. Letterboxed.

By Rob Nixon
The Return Of A Man Called Horse

The Return of a Man Called Horse

British actor Richard Harris had a major hit with A Man Called Horse (1970), playing John Morgan, an Englishman on a hunting expedition in the remote American West who is captured by the Yellow Hand Sioux. Nicknamed "Horse" by his captors, he undergoes a brutal ritual initiation to become accepted into the tribe, eventually leading them into victory over their enemies. Years later, Morgan is living in England again but feeling disconnected and empty inside. He returns to the West only to find his beloved tribe has been pushed off its land by vicious white trappers, backed by the U.S. government. Isolated and barely surviving, the remaining Yellow Hand are reinvigorated by Morgan's return. Once again, he undergoes the torturous initiation and emerges as a warrior to lead them into battle to regain their sacred land. Critics weren't universally enthralled by the sequel, The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976), and questioned its epic pace and some shaky plot elements, such as the need for Morgan to be initiated once again, an obvious attempt to get more mileage out of the original film's most sensational scene. Some also noted that, in spite of its pro-Indian theme, the film exhibited considerable white chauvinism in depicting the tribe helpless and demoralized until the Englishman restores their spirit and teaches them, once again, how to fight for themselves. Nevertheless, other critics and audiences found the movie visually stunning and exciting. Reportedly, George Lucas was so impressed with Irvin Kershner's handling of the picture that he hired Kershner to direct Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Credit must also go to cinematographer Owen Roizman for the acclaimed look of the film. Roizman earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Cinematographers in 1997 for his work on such films as The French Connection (1971), The Exorcist (1973), Tootsie (1982), and Wyatt Earp (1994). Jack DeWitt took on screenwriting chores, as he did on the original A Man Called Horse, which was based on a story by Dorothy M. Johnson previously filmed in 1958 as an episode of the television Western series Wagon Train. Kershner has said that The Return of a Man Called Horse had the best music of any film he ever directed. He felt Laurence Rosenthal's score played like grand opera. Lucas must have been impressed by the composer's work, too; he was hired years later to write music for various television and made-for-video incarnations of Young Indiana Jones, produced by Lucas and based on his famous character. The "white bias" that critic Roger Ebert and others noted in the story arc of The Return of a Man Called Horse was also reflected in the casting. Following a longtime Hollywood practice, many members of the Sioux tribe are played by Hispanic actors. Danish-American actress Gale Sondergaard was cast in the role of the Sioux matriarch Elk Woman. The first winner of a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award (for Anthony Adverse, 1936), Sondergaard had been blacklisted in the 1950s for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Her husband, director Herbert Biberman, was one of the Hollywood Ten, and his career was destroyed after being accused of being communist. She found work on the stage for many years until returning to film and television in the late 1960s. Despite her Scandinavian heritage, Sondergaard was dark and exotic looking, which often led to her being cast in various ethnic roles, notably as the deadly Eurasian in The Letter (1940). Sondergaard was initially set to play the role of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz (1939), but producers thought she was too beautiful. Director Mervyn Leroy, who very much wanted her for the part, retested her in ugly make-up, but her natural good looks were still considered unsuitable, and at any rate, she refused to look so unattractive on screen and turned down the role. The Return of a Man Called Horse was the result of a partnership Harris had formed with Sandy Howard, who produced the original A Man Called Horse. Ironically, Harris was not Howard's preferred choice to play John Morgan in the first movie; he wanted Robert Redford, who went on to make the similar Jeremiah Johnson (1972). Howard and Harris teamed again for another, poorly received, sequel, Triumphs of a Man Called Horse (1982), in which a not very robust Harris appears in only a few scenes, with the bulk of the movie centering on Morgan's son, Koda (Michael Beck). Director: Irvin Kershner Producer: Terry Morse, Jr. Screenplay: Jack DeWitt, based on characters created by Dorothy M. Johnson Cinematography: Owen Roizman Editing: Michael Kahn Production Design: Stewart Campbell Original Music: Laurence Rosenthal Cast: Richard Harris (John Morgan), Gale Sondergaard (Elk Woman), Geoffrey Lewis (Zenas), Bill Lucking (Tom Gryce), Jorge Luke (Running Bull), Jorge Russek (Blacksmith). C-126m. Letterboxed. By Rob Nixon

Richard Harris, 1930-2002 - TCM Remembers Richard Harris


Two-time Best Actor nominee Richard Harris, who was also famous for his feisty, off-screen exploits, was once characterized along with Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole as one of Britain's most charismatic and unpredictable leading men during the heyday of their popularity in the '60s and '70s. He died at the University College of London Hospital on Friday, Oct. 25. He had been suffering from Hodgkin's disease, a form of lymphatic cancer, and was 72 years old.

Harris was born October 1, 1930, in Limerick, Ireland, one of nine children born to farmer Ivan Harris and his wife, Mildred Harty. He was a noted rugby player as a youth, but shortly after his move to London in the mid-50s, Harris studied classical acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. After a few years of stage experience, he made his screen debut in Alive and Kicking (1958) and quickly developed a reputation as a talented young actor. His film career became increasingly impressive with such strong supporting turns in Shake Hands with the Devil (1959), The Guns of Navarone (1961) and Mutiny on the Bounty (1962).

Yet it wasn't until 1963 that Harris became an unlikely star after thrilling movie viewers and critics with his electrifying performance in This Sporting Life. His portrayal of a bitter young coal miner who becomes a professional rugby star marked the arrival of a major international talent and won him the Best Actor award at Cannes and an Oscar nomination.

Strangely enough, Harris' next projects were multimillion dollar epics and he went largely unnoticed amid the all-star casts; he had a small role as Cain in John Huston's production of The Bible (1966) and in Hawaii (1966) he played a sea captain who falls in love with a married woman (Julie Andrews). He also tried his hand at a mod spy comedy opposite Doris Day - Caprice (1967). A much better role for him was playing King Arthur in the film version of the Broadway hit Camelot (1967). The movie was not well received critically, but Harris' singing skills proved to be a surprise; not only did he win a Golden Globe for his performance, but the film's soundtrack album proved to be a bigger commercial hit than the film itself. Even more surprising was his unexpected success the following year with the pop hit "MacArthur Park" - that kitsch cornerstone of lounge karaoke. The song just missed topping the Billboard singles chart in the "Summer of 1968;" It was topped by Herb Albert's "This Guy's In Love with You."

The '70s proved to be a mixed bag for Harris. He scored a huge commercial hit with his best-known film of that decade, A Man Called Horse (1970). It became a cult Western and featured him as an English aristocrat captured, tortured and eventually adopted by Sioux Indians. He also showed some promise behind the camera, co-writing the screenplay for the psychological thriller The Lady in the Car With Glasses and a Gun (1970) and directing (as well as starring) in The Hero (1972), a drama about an aging soccer star. But the quality of films in which Harris appeared declined as the decade progressed: Orca (1977) - a terrible Jaws rip-off, The Wild Geese(1978), and worst of all, Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981), in which he had a thankless role as Bo Derek's explorer father.

Based on those films and his general inactivity in the '80s, Harris' comeback performance in The Field (1990) was a wonderful surprise. In that film he played a man who has nurtured a field into a prized piece of real estate only to lose his sanity as the property is taken from him; the role earned him a deserved Oscar nomination and showed that he was still a vital screen presence. Harris took full advantage of this new spurt in his career by committing himself to many fine character roles: the cool, refined gunslinger in Unforgiven(1992), his intense portrayal of a father mourning the death of his son in Cry the Beloved Country (1995), the resident villain of Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997), and as the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius in the epic Gladiator (2000).

Yet Harris will probably be best remembered by current audiences for his portrayal of Dumbledore, the benevolent and wily head of Hogwarts School in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) which will be released nationwide in just three weeks. Harris is survived by his three sons, Jared, Jamie (both actors) and the director Damian Harris.

by Michael T. Toole

Richard Harris, 1930-2002 - TCM Remembers Richard Harris

Two-time Best Actor nominee Richard Harris, who was also famous for his feisty, off-screen exploits, was once characterized along with Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole as one of Britain's most charismatic and unpredictable leading men during the heyday of their popularity in the '60s and '70s. He died at the University College of London Hospital on Friday, Oct. 25. He had been suffering from Hodgkin's disease, a form of lymphatic cancer, and was 72 years old. Harris was born October 1, 1930, in Limerick, Ireland, one of nine children born to farmer Ivan Harris and his wife, Mildred Harty. He was a noted rugby player as a youth, but shortly after his move to London in the mid-50s, Harris studied classical acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. After a few years of stage experience, he made his screen debut in Alive and Kicking (1958) and quickly developed a reputation as a talented young actor. His film career became increasingly impressive with such strong supporting turns in Shake Hands with the Devil (1959), The Guns of Navarone (1961) and Mutiny on the Bounty (1962). Yet it wasn't until 1963 that Harris became an unlikely star after thrilling movie viewers and critics with his electrifying performance in This Sporting Life. His portrayal of a bitter young coal miner who becomes a professional rugby star marked the arrival of a major international talent and won him the Best Actor award at Cannes and an Oscar nomination. Strangely enough, Harris' next projects were multimillion dollar epics and he went largely unnoticed amid the all-star casts; he had a small role as Cain in John Huston's production of The Bible (1966) and in Hawaii (1966) he played a sea captain who falls in love with a married woman (Julie Andrews). He also tried his hand at a mod spy comedy opposite Doris Day - Caprice (1967). A much better role for him was playing King Arthur in the film version of the Broadway hit Camelot (1967). The movie was not well received critically, but Harris' singing skills proved to be a surprise; not only did he win a Golden Globe for his performance, but the film's soundtrack album proved to be a bigger commercial hit than the film itself. Even more surprising was his unexpected success the following year with the pop hit "MacArthur Park" - that kitsch cornerstone of lounge karaoke. The song just missed topping the Billboard singles chart in the "Summer of 1968;" It was topped by Herb Albert's "This Guy's In Love with You." The '70s proved to be a mixed bag for Harris. He scored a huge commercial hit with his best-known film of that decade, A Man Called Horse (1970). It became a cult Western and featured him as an English aristocrat captured, tortured and eventually adopted by Sioux Indians. He also showed some promise behind the camera, co-writing the screenplay for the psychological thriller The Lady in the Car With Glasses and a Gun (1970) and directing (as well as starring) in The Hero (1972), a drama about an aging soccer star. But the quality of films in which Harris appeared declined as the decade progressed: Orca (1977) - a terrible Jaws rip-off, The Wild Geese(1978), and worst of all, Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981), in which he had a thankless role as Bo Derek's explorer father. Based on those films and his general inactivity in the '80s, Harris' comeback performance in The Field (1990) was a wonderful surprise. In that film he played a man who has nurtured a field into a prized piece of real estate only to lose his sanity as the property is taken from him; the role earned him a deserved Oscar nomination and showed that he was still a vital screen presence. Harris took full advantage of this new spurt in his career by committing himself to many fine character roles: the cool, refined gunslinger in Unforgiven(1992), his intense portrayal of a father mourning the death of his son in Cry the Beloved Country (1995), the resident villain of Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997), and as the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius in the epic Gladiator (2000). Yet Harris will probably be best remembered by current audiences for his portrayal of Dumbledore, the benevolent and wily head of Hogwarts School in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) which will be released nationwide in just three weeks. Harris is survived by his three sons, Jared, Jamie (both actors) and the director Damian Harris. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer July 1976

Released in United States Summer July 1976