HOLLYWOOD HORSES Movies
Make one of these horse movies your "mane event"
BY ELEANOR O'SULLIVAN Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 10/26/07
The arrival of the Breeders' Cup is an excellent time to catch up with all those movies about the sport of kings that you've been meaning to see.
At the top of any list there are the old reliables such as "National Velvet" and "The Black Stallion."
But here's one that may have eluded you: the 1989 winner "Let It Ride." Loaded with memorable lines, it stars Richard Dreyfuss as a guy with a long losing streak at the track, Jay Trotter. Hanging out in the bar across the street from the track, he mutters, "I don't belong in here with these losers; I belong over at the jockey club talking to people with teeth."
Here's a roundup of movies about the most graceful of animals. None of these titles features the dastardly device of trip wiring, now outlawed in American-made films.
All are available for home viewing.
And you're off!
"THE BLACK STALLION" (1979): A lovely story beautifully photographed (by Caleb Deschanel) starring Kelly Reno as a lonely boy whose life is transformed by a majestic horse and a wise trainer devoted to the boy and the beast. With Mickey Rooney and Teri Garr. Carroll Ballard directed; Francis Ford Coppola produced. Followed by "The Black Stallion Returns" (1983), minus Rooney.
"A DAY AT THE RACES" (1937): You don't get funnier than this gem from the Marx Brothers — Groucho, Harpo, Chico — and their patsy, Margaret Dumont. The boys put their money on a ramshackle jumper horse to keep their sanitarium for the rich open for business. Maureen O'Sullivan and Allan Jones are the love interest. Above all, we love Groucho, a vet playing an M.D. named Hackenbush.
A Day at the Races at Amazon
"THE HORSE WHISPERER" (1998): Horsey soap opera about a man who can get miraculous results by talking to horses, and traumatized people, too. Robert Redford still looks great in jeans, as does Kristin Scott Thomas as the mother of a troubled girl. Great scenery and horse footage; Scarlett Johansson, Dianne Wiest, Chris Cooper and Sam Neill co-star. Redford directed.
"THE KILLING" (1956): Stanley Kubrick had what it took from the get-go: Here, he directed Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards and Marie Windsor in a spicy, tingling drama about a race track robbery. Nervy timing and moody black and white photography complete the noirish feel. Kubrick wrote the screenplay adapting from the novel "Clean Break" by Lionel White.
"LET IT RIDE" (1989): Hilarious, smartly written saga of a guy on a protracted losing streak. He gets a stroke of good luck, runs with it at the track and suddenly the whole world is his friend. Dreyfuss co-stars with Teri Garr, Jennifer Tilly and Allen Garfield. Nancy Dowd ("Slap Shot") wrote the screenplay.
"MY FAIR LADY" (1964): Audrey Hepburn, originally considered for the Eliza Doolittle role when it opened on Broadway in 1956, subs for Julie Andrews in this film version which uses the Ascot Racecourse for the big number "Ascot Gavotte."
"NATIONAL VELVET" (1944): An all-star cast — Elizabeth Taylor, Rooney, Anne Revere, Donald Crisp, Angela Lansbury — is featured in this tale of a young girl riding a wonderful horse in a steeplechase. Leonard Smith's photography is breathtaking.
"'PHAR LAP" (1983): Based on the life of an amazing Australian race horse that defies the odds, with the devotion of a stable boy, to win big (and infuriate the high rollers). Ron Leibman joins an Australian cast.
"THE POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE" (1984): A couple of mugs steal $150,000 to back a sure thing at the track. Naturally, the sure thing has some problems. Shot on location at Monmouth Park in Oceanport. With Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, Daryl Hannah, Geraldine Page, Philip Bosco and dozens of area residents in extra roles at Monmouth.
"SEABISCUIT" (2003): Tobey Maguire comes down to earth to play a Depression-era jockey who rides to fame the big-hearted horse named Seabiscuit. With Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper. Based on the brilliant book about the horse by Lauren Hillenbrand. Another variation, "The Story of Seabiscuit" (1949), starred Shirley Temple and Barry Fitzgerald and includes archival footage of the real Seabiscuit at the track.
Eleanor O'Sullivan: (732) 643-4256 or email@example.com.
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