National Velvet/The Story of Seabiscuit/Black Beauty [2 Discs] [DVD]
- SKU: 8041816
- Release Date: 11/07/2006
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Ratings & Reviews
Although National Velvet was the first starring role for 11-year-old Elizabeth Taylor, the early part of the film belongs to Mickey Rooney in the showier role of Mike Taylor, a headstrong English ex-jockey. Soured on life by a serious accident, Mike plans to steal from the country family that has taken him in, but his resolve is weakened by the kindness of young Velvet (Taylor). The two find a common bond in their love of horses. Velvet wins an "unbreakable" horse in a raffle, and enters the animal in the Grand National Sweepstakes. Though Mike is unable to ride the horse, he aids Velvet in her plan to disguise herself as a jockey; she wins the race...but the story isn't over quite yet. Co-starring as Velvet's mother is Anne Revere, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance. National Velvet is based on the novel by Enid Bagnold. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Story of Seabiscuit
The racehorse Seabiscuit really existed, but this is not his true story -- this is a romance and centers on lovely Margaret O'Hara (Shirley Temple), an Irish lass who comes to cheer on her uncle Shawn O'Hara's (Barry Fitzgerald) horse during the big races and ends up falling in love with handsome jockey Ted Knowles (Lon McCallister). He asks for her hand, but she will only marry him if he gives up racing because she is still mourning the death of her brother, who was also a jockey. Ted is torn because he loves her, but he also wants to ride her uncle's horse Seabiscuit to victory. Her uncle convinces him to ride and then engineers matters so that his niece will still marry Ted. The film includes footage of the real Seabiscuit winning two different races during the 1940s. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
The fourth screen adaptation of Anna Sewell's classic novel is, in some ways, the most faithful and accomplished. Screenwriter and director Caroline Thompson recounts the life of Black Beauty, an aging, handsome stallion living in Victorian England. The film is narrated by Alan Cumming as the voice of Black Beauty, who spends a happy childhood on a rambling country estate before being ravaged by illness and surviving a horrible stable fire. However, the worst is yet to come as Black Beauty's new owners subject him to life as a horse for rent and, later, as a taxi puller in working-class London, before he can retire in peace. The original novel was written to draw attention to the cruel treatment of animals in 1877 England, and the issue's continued relevance today adds poignancy and gravity to this affecting tale. The film is episodic, as was the book, and the topic is handled with sensitivity and care. ~ Don Kaye, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Elizabeth Taylor - Velvet Brown
- Mickey Rooney - Mike Taylor
- Donald Crisp - Mr. Brown
- Anne Revere - Mrs. Brown
- Angela Lansbury - Edwina Brown
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