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Louisa May Alcott's autobiographical account of her life with her three sisters in Concord, Massachusetts in the 1860s. With their father fighting in the American Civil War, sisters Jo, Meg... See full summary »
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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
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 »
Some day you'll learn that greatness is only the seizing of opportunity - clutching with your bare hands 'til the knuckles show white.
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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 standout family film from the golden age of Hollywood
"National Velvet" tells the story of Velvet Brown, a young English girl with dreams of entering her beloved horse into competition at the prestigious Grand National horse race. The film follows her as she trains her horse with the aid of a former jockey and the support of her parents.
While "National Velvet" is a family film that fact shouldn't deter anyone who typically views such films with derision. The film is indeed one that will appeal to the entire family, not just attention-addled youngsters. It even managed to land five Oscar nominations, hardly a sign of slacking off for a general audience.
Anne Revere, in the part of Velvet's mother, actually won an Oscar for her performance. She was indeed excellent in the role but it is 12-year old Elizabeth Taylor who steals the show. She is a charming presence and exhibits a talent beyond her years. Also on board is Oscar-winner Donald Crisp as Velvet's father, Mickey Rooney as former jockey Mi Taylor and Angela Lansbury (in one of her earliest film roles) as Velvet's older sister.
The film's lustrous Technicolor makes for an attractive viewing experience while the editing secured the second of the film's two Oscars. Additionally, the film was nominated for its direction (by Clarence Brown), cinematography & art direction. The score by ten-time Oscar nominee Herbert Stothart is also worth mentioning, though it went unnominated.
All in all, "National Velvet" is a wonderful family film that deserves a higher rating. I realize that the prospect of watching a film about a girl and her horse isn't exactly going to thrill some people but this one is worth taking a chance on.
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