I am currently watching a film that I can’t believe I have never watched before, 1979’s The Black Stallion. Based on the first in a series of children’s books by Walter Farley, it was billed as a children’s/family film, which is not incorrect, but it’s more than that.
I’d call it a romantic film, a sort of love affair that takes place in the 1940s between a young boy who has lost his father in a terrible shipwreck, and a beautiful, wild black stallion. The boy and the horse, which had been captured and stabled on board the ship, are the Dover’s sole survivors.
Stranded on a tiny desert island together, the boy, Alec, determines to make friends with the magnificent, skittish creature he calls “The Black.”
Alex woos the stallion by talking “horse” and presenting him with a large shell full of greens. Soon he has the animal eating from his hand and frolicking with him in the surf.
There is very little dialogue in the island scenes and there doesn’t need to be. The gorgeous cinematography (the film was shot in Sardinia, Canada and at Cinecitta in Rome), the minimalist score, and fine acting by both Kelly Reno as Alec and, yes, that lovely and spirited equine, speaks for itself.
Alec and The Black are eventually rescued by some fishermen and returned to his hometown, where he and The Black are celebrated as local heroes. The stallion is frightened by garbage collectors one morning and dashes out of the fenced-in backyard, leading Alec on a not-so-merry chase.
As a result, the boy meets a former horse trainer, played by Mickey Rooney, who has taken the wandering stallion into his own stable. You know where the movie is going from here–a fast horse, a trainer looking for a comeback and a little boy with a lot of spunk. It makes the ride no less enjoyable. Good performances all ’round, including Rooney, who has been known to ham it up a bit too much for my personal taste.
Kelly Reno in an autographed photo. Images courtesy of Bing.com
Watching this beautiful, proud, regal animal rearing up, tossing his flowing mane and stamping his feet, sniffing and snorting–well, it led me to think of someone else . . . can you guess who?
GIFS-click on the pretty henchman.
Oh, those manly sniffs!
My internet was down for several hours so I am behind in responding to comments. Time for me to take a walk, pick up the mail, and come back and wash this dirty mane of mine. Meeting with my writing partner tomorrow afternoon; hopefully having lunch with hubby beforehand. Reading up on Children’s Literature for Dummies on my Kindle along with Heyer’s These Old Shades, a bargain e-book. See you later!