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Louisa May Alcott's autobiographical account of her life with her three sisters in Concord Mass in the 1860s. With their father fighting in the civil war, the sisters: Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth... See full summary »
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Richard Ian Cox,
Mi Taylor was a young wanderer and opportunist whose father had given him "all the roads in the Kingdom" to travel. One of the roads, and a notation in his father's journal, leads him to the quiet English country-side home of the Brown family. The youngest daughter, Velvet, has a passion for horses and when she wins the spirited steed Pie in a town lottery, Mi is encouraged to train the horse for the Grand National - England's greatest racing event. Written by
The music during the "lobster for dinner" scene between Mr. & Mrs. Brown is actually a very close paraphrase of "Ballet Of The Unhatched Chicks" from Moussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition" as orchestrated by Ravel. Moreover, film composer Herbert Stothart had actually used this exact music chart in 1940 for a sequence in "Pride & Prejudice." See more »
Mr. Brown, a butcher who should know better, authoritatively announces that one small-to-medium-sized lobster will provide a family dinner for six: A claw apiece for he and his wife, the entire tail (the meatiest part of the crustacean) for his picky young son who's a finicky eater and what's "in-between" (basically all of it's inedible entrails) for his three teenage daughters - with some left over for the dog! In reality, a lobster of that size would hardly feed one hungry person. See more »
[Mi is trying to tell Velvet the "tricks" for the Grand National]
Don't, Mi! No matter what you say or do everyone else out there will know more than me. It's no use, Mi.
Do think a race like this is won by luck?
No, by knowing the Pi can win and telling him so!
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A frame, with music, was added to the film at the end: "To families of servicemen and women: Pictures exhibited in this theater are given to the armed forces for showing in combat areas around the world. [signed] War Activities Committee/Motion Picture Industry" See more »
A lot of directors have broached childhood:Truffaut,Bunuel,Pialat,Comencini,Loach ,but no one did it as Clarence Brown used to do:his world is a rosy one ,a protected one where any dream can come true if you believe in it.Not realistic?Not that much :take "the yearling" for instance:the young hero's pal's death is not passed over in silence but Jody did tell him and us that somewhere in Heaven there are prairies full of coypus.In "National Velvet" ,the mother ,quoting the Book of Ecclesiastes ,tells her daughter that there's a time for everything,even a time to die.
Colors display something magic,closer to fairy tales than to a realistic story:this small town,with its colorful characters,its school where the teacher loves all of her students whom she's going to miss during the long holiday,its butcher's shop.The heroine's parents own it and their house suffuses with understanding,tenderness and love.The race is ,as far as Velvet is concerned , entirely implausible ,but it's nicely filmed.
A top-notch cast cannot fail to win over the audience:the couple Anne Revere/Donald Crisp are parents every child dreams of;Elizabeth Taylor has always been an underrated actress,to think that about 20 years later,she would be Martha in "who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?"!;Mickey Rooney 's pouty mouth and sullen expression avoid pathos and melodramatic effects.And there's also a young Angela Landsbury,long before "murder she wrote" ,on the threshold of a brilliant career.
It may not appeal to Today's children ,who got used to special effects and action-packed stories.But for the adults who've still got their child's soul,it's a true delight.
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