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Richard Ian Cox,
Ken McLaughlin struggles to please his family in any way. He comes back from boarding school boasting poor grades and facing going through the fifth grade again, much to his fathers dismay. Ken's mother, Nell, manages to persuade his father Rob to let him choose a colt from the herd for himself. He instead chooses a sorrel chestnut filly, who becomes injured soon after. Can Ken nurse the filly back to full health? Written by
"In this touching family film based on the celebrated novel by Mary O'Hara, ten-year-old Kenny McLaughlin (Roddy McDowall), a rancher's son, desperately wants a horse of his own. When his father (Preston Foster) finally agrees to let him choose a foal, Ken picks Flicka, a beautiful but high-spirited filly who comes from a bloodline considers hopelessly wild. It is up to Ken to prove Flicka is tamable or risk losing her. Along the way, Ken and his family learn some important lessons in the poignant tale of love, patience, faith, and hope beyond hope," according to the DVD synopsis.
The most obvious outstanding feature of this excellent family drama is the stunningly beautiful Technicolor photography by Dewey Wrigley, with Natalie Kalmus and Henri Jaffa assisting. Both the Utah location and 20th Century-Fox lots are spectacular, often with a gentle breeze highlighting the scenery. The studio could have easily pushed for an "Academy Award" (to compete with MGM's "Lassie Come Home") in the "Best Color Cinematography" category.
According to my Svenska grandfather, "Flicka" means just "girl" in Swedish, not as the film states, "little girl." The story trims the book to make "My Friend Flicka" seem more about the curiously cold relationship father Foster has with his son. By the film's end, you expect the distant dad will be closer to young McDowall. He and "Flicka" are tremendously appealing, and charmed viewers through sequels, a TV series, and numerous repeats through the 1950s.
******** My Friend Flicka (5/26/43) Harold Schuster ~ Roddy McDowall, Preston Foster, Rita Johnson, James Bell
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