Thursday, March 24, 2011

Horse Movies - Ode to Elizabeth Taylor

Sad day yesterday with the news of the death of movie icon Elizabeth Taylor.  We'll honor her today by looking at some of the best horse movies, since she lead the way at age 12 in the starring role of Velvet Brown in National Velvet, probably one of the best horse movies ever made. 

I never much cared for the "remake" of International Velvet with Tatum O'Neal.  But if National Velvet were made today, I would chose Dakota Fanning as the star, who displays her awesome talent in the 2005 Dreamer, another very good horse movie. 

My all time favorite horse movie has to be The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit, a 1968 Disney classic starring Dean Jones and Kurt Russell.

The movie has some great clips. One of my favorites is when a very young Kurt Russell drives up, pulling the horse trailer in what appears to be a very small convertible sports car (like an MG).  Once they park trailer, a full bar pops out of the side of the trailer, with an awning and while the girls ride, the men have cocktails.  Can I have one of those for my trailer please?

Ellen Janov, the young star of the movie, who plays Dean Jones' daughter, died in a tragic house fire in Los Angeles in 1976 at age 23.  Olympian Kathy Kusner does a lot of the riding in the movie.  If you have not seen it, by all means take a look.

Another lesser known film, Kentucky, is a 1938 Technicolor with Loretta Young, Walter Brennan and Richard Greene.  It is a Romeo and Juliet story of lovers Jack and Sally, set amidst Kentucky horse racing.  Brennan won his second Oscar (Best Supporting Actor) in his role as Peter Goodwin, who was in his 40's when the movie was made but plays a much older gentleman.  I have been told that the horses in the movie are famous racehorses - at the beginning you see Man O'War, Fair Play, Hard Tack and others.  Don't quote me on this, but I was told that the horse "Postman" was played by Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox.

Sherger is a true story about an Irish Thoroughbred who was kidnapped by the IRA and never seen again.

Some others worth mentioning include Secretariat, Seabiscuit, Flash, Justin Morgan Had a Horse, The Horse Whisperer, Hidalgo, Danny, The Little Horse That Could:  The Connemara Stallion Erin Go Braugh, The Silver Stallion, Miracle of the White Stallions, The Princess Stallion, and of course, Black Beauty.

You can find a more complete list of horse movies here.  And your favorite?


  1. Yes I just read that the world lost Elizabeth Taylor, so sad. But she packed a lot in her life here. Thanks for all of these movie tips! I'm going to try out a few for our family movie nights : )

  2. Mary Mairs Chapot was the Rider at the National on, I believe, his name was White Lightening, posing for Aspercel. The rider doing the face plant at the National, riding Diamond Bill, was Max O. Bonham.
    A couple of other movies: The Tattooed Police Horse and The Horse with the Flying Tail, both by Disney.


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