In the coast range mountains on the western edge of the Salinas Valley is a ranch where Tom, a lad of about ten, longs for a pony. He lives with his mom, who was born there, her dad, a talkative pioneer who misses the old West, Tom's dad Fred Tiflin, who comes from the city and after years on the ranch doesn't feel at home there, and Billy, their trusted hand, a real cowboy. While Fred has to sort out whether he wants to stay a rancher and come to terms with his son being closer to Billy than to himself, Tom gets a pony and learns directly about responsibility and loss. What lessons can each learn, and are tragedy and hard choices all that life offers? Are laughter and joy anywhere? Written by
The novel is actually made up of four short stories: "The Gift," "The Great Mountain," "The Leader of the People" and "The Promise." Each was published separately in magazines between 1933 and 1937. See more »
Alice opens the lunch box to find a small snake inside. The snake is clearly hanging out of the box, but in the next angle it is fully inside. See more »
There is an unusual abundance of talent associated with this film. The screenplay was written by one of the great American writers of the 20th century, John Steinbeck, taken from his excellent short novel of the same name. The score was written by Aaron Copland, perhaps the most noted composer in American history. The director, Lewis Milestone, made many fine pictures over a long career including Academy Award winner 'All Quiet on the Western Front.'
All that talent doesn't necessarily mean that 'The Red Pony' is going to be the greatest movie of all time, though it is a good one. Milestone's direction and Copland's score are both fine, but I didn't feel like Steinbeck's script was nearly as good as his book.
We often complain when a favorite work of literature is changed considerably by the movies, but what do you say when it's a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author doing it to his own work? Although I don't think this filmed version lives up to the novel, it still covers the same ground. It's about a boy growing up on a farm in Steinbeck's beloved Salinas Valley in California, where he learns some lessons about life. One of them is that the things you think you want the most sometimes come at a much higher price than you were prepared to pay. My favorite actor in this movie was Myrna Loy as the mother. Where did I ever get the idea that she wasn't supposed to be that good an actress? I must have had her mixed up with someone else.
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