A Man Called Horse

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A Man Called Horse
ManCalledHorse-Boxcover.jpg
Director Elliot Silverstein
Runtime 114 mins
Country USA
Language English / Sioux
Rating USA: M (original)
USA: R (re-rating)
UK: AA (original)
UK:15 (video)
Australia PG
Genre Western / Adventure / Drama
Year of Release 1970
DVD Release Date 2003
A Man Called Horse at IMDB

A Man Called Horse is one of the first (and only) Hollywood movies to graphically showcase flesh hook suspension. It was released in 1970 and based on the novel Indian Country by Dorothy M. Johnson).

Set in 1820s America, it tells the story of an English Aristocrat, Lord John Morgan (starring [http://imdb.com/name/nm0001321/ Richard Harris), who is captured by the Sioux while hunting in America. Morgan is brutally treated by the tribe, and is given to the Chief's mother as if he were a horse. Eventually, Morgan learns to understand and appreciate the tribe's behaviour, gaining the respect of the tribe and falling in love with the Chief's sister.

In order to prove his worth to marry into the tribe, Harris must undergo a series of ritual tortures and trials, including an O-Kee-Pa-style chest suspension, before eventually joining the tribe and taking the name Horse. Throughout the movie, the Chief's own scars are openly displayed, illustrating the prominence of the ritual in the tribe's society as well as showing the Chief's status.

The 1976 sequel, The Return of a Man Called Horse sees Morgan grow tired of his aristocratic life and travel back to America to rejoin his tribe. He finds that the tribe has been devastated through a a fur trading war with settlers, and he must "regroup" them. During the course of the movie, tribe members do a Sun Dance-style pulling ritual.

There was a third and much less acclaimed sequel in 1982, Triumphs of a Man Called Horse, with Richard Harris again reprising his role as Morgan. It's listed as not being a 'true sequel' to the original, instead telling the story of Morgan's warrior son Koda, trying to keep greedy European settlers and prospectors from destroying the tribe's way of life.

While, today, these films are less well-known due to their age, they were the first contact many people in the West had with suspension, years before the suspension subculture existed like it does now.

It should also be pointed out that while excellent attention to detail and accuracy has been paid, and they are very convincing even to those who've seen the real thing, the suspensions in this movie are not real.

Stills from A Man Called Horse

ISBN: B00008CMR5 (Find this at Amazon.com)

A Man Called Horse
A Man Called Horse
A Man Called Horse
A Man Called Horse
A Man Called Horse
A Man Called Horse
A Man Called Horse
A Man Called Horse
A Man Called Horse

Stills from The Return of a Man Called Horse

ISBN: B00005LOL1 (Find this at Amazon.com)

The Return of a Man Called Horse
The Return of a Man Called Horse
The Return of a Man Called Horse
The Return of a Man Called Horse
The Return of a Man Called Horse
The Return of a Man Called Horse
The Return of a Man Called Horse
The Return of a Man Called Horse

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