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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
Twelve-year old Velvet Brown (Elizabeth Taylor) wins a spirited gelding in a raffle and dreams of entering him in England's Grand National Sweepstakes. With the help of ex-jockey Mi Taylor (Mickey Rooney), she just might have a chance.
National Velvet is a 1935 novel by English author Enid Bagnold [1889-1981]. The novel was adapted for the film by American screenwriter Helen Deutsch. A movie sequel, International Velvet, was released in 1978.
The Browns live in Sewels in Sussex, England. However, the film was shot entirely in California.
She named him "The Pie" after Mr Ede (Reginald Owen), his previous owner, referred to him as a "murderous pirate." In the novel, however, Pie is short for 'piebald', which refers to a spotted or pinto horse. In this movie, Pie is a chestnut, so it was necessary to come up with another explanation for his name.
The Pie was played by a horse named King Charles who was sired by Man o' War, considered to be the greatest Thoroughbred race horse of the 20th century.
Yes. The Grand National steeplechase is, indeed, a real horse race. It is held yearly at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. The race covers 7,242m and the horses must jump 30 gates, including the treacherous Becher's Brook of which Mi Taylor (Mickey Rooney) mentions in the film.
Just after crossing the winning line, Velvet fainted and fell off the Pie. The rules of the race state that the winning jockey must remain on his horse until he has reached the paddock.
Throughout the entire movie, they always referred to each other as"Mr Brown" (Donald Crisp) and "Mrs Brown" (Anne Revere), even when talking to each other privately. Toward the end of the movie, Mr Brown finally calls his wife by her given name, Araminty, and Mrs Brown addresses her husband by his given name, Herbert.
After winning the Grand National and being disqualified, Velvet, Mi, and the Pie return to Sewels where they are greeted ceremoniously by the town's residents. When it becomes international news that the winning horse was jockeyed by a 12-year girl, the Browns are inundated with offers for interviews and appearances, including an offer to have Velvet and the Pie travel to Hollywood to appear in a motion picture. However, Velvet will have none of it, not wanting to subject the Pie to public attention and staring people. She goes out to the barn to talk with Mi, only to find that Mi has moved on after finally being told that he has found favor in Mr Brown's eyes. Velvet rues the fact that Mi was never told that it was his father who coached Mrs Brown on her quest to swim the English Channel, so she jumps on the Pie and goes after Mi.
No. Elizabeth Taylor had bit parts in four movies -- There's One Born Every Minute (1942), Lassie Come Home (1943), Jane Eyre (1944), and The White Cliffs of Dover (1944) -- prior to making National Velvet. She was 12 years old at the time.
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