Clint Barkley (MacMurray) first sees Smoky as a runaway, and drives him back to the ranch where he meets the owner, Julie Richards (Anne Baxter). He is given a job on her ranch, but the head cowhand is doubtful about Clint and fears that since he refuses to talk about himself, he must have some dreadful secret in his past. Clint and Smoky become close to each other, weathering the hardships of Western life and the suspicions of others together, until one day, Smoky tragically vanishes. Will Clint ever see him again? Written by
When Smoky is dragging a wounded Clint, the horse is plainly dragging a dummy, as evidenced by the stiffness of the 'body' and, in one instance, by the dummy's hand getting caught on the stirrup, leaving the crooked arm poking up into the air in an extremely unnatural position. See more »
Yes, the original Smokey is a classic, now almost a period piece. I'm almost 70 (February 1939), and believe I saw this movie on the week it was released. I think it was my first movie.
Yes, it's a beautiful, memorable, and sad story, especially when you're that young. I cried like I did with Bambi, but for this and a number of other reasons -- not the least of which are Fred McMurray's strong lead, Burl Ive's great renditions of what I believe are some of our most authentic American folk songs (e.g., "The Blue Tail Fly"), and Smokey a beautiful horse for a lasting concept of character that bonds independent loving humans to independent loving animals -- it compels me to ask who, having seen it, could ever forget it?
Does 20 Century Fox keep masters even when they're succeeded by remakes? If so, I'd sure like to get my hands on a copy of the original. Having Googled and Cuiled for this information without any success on and off over the past year and a half, I was beginning to wonder if there might not be other intentional reasons for this film's disappearance.
Conceivably, as it was produced in the '40s, the original Smokey may have contained language or stereotypes now recognized, rightly or wrongly, as politically incorrect. I may have been too young to recognize anything of this kind. More likely, Burl Ive's, like so many folk collectors, scholars and performers, was once blacklisted by Congress, the movie industry, and other witch hunting institutions because of alleged associations with "communists." Is the movie industry trying to protect us from our/their past? On the other hand, if the film's disappearance is, in fact, a casualty of such black listing or attempts at social engineering, it deprives us from seeing, and remembering, ourselves as we once were. In this case, the original Smokey needs to be re-released for its historical import at least. It is an American original.
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