IMDb > The Red Pony (1949)
The Red Pony
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The Red Pony (1949) More at IMDbPro »

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John Steinbeck (by)
John Steinbeck (screen play)
View company contact information for The Red Pony on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
28 March 1949 (USA) See more »
A ranch boy is gifted with a colt, grows to love him but the colt escapes, with tragic results. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Beau Bridges Gets Walk of Fame Star
 (From WENN. 9 April 2003)

User Reviews:
A Modest, Worthwhile Steinbeck-Penned Tale with a Powerful Copland Score and a Grade-A Cast See more (18 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Myrna Loy ... Alice Tiflin

Robert Mitchum ... Billy Buck

Louis Calhern ... Grandfather
Shepperd Strudwick ... Mr. Fred Tiflin
Peter Miles ... Tom

Margaret Hamilton ... Teacher
Melinda Byron ... Jinx Ingals (as Patty King)
Jackie Jackson ... Jackie

Beau Bridges ... Beau
Don Reynolds ... Little Brown Jug (as Little Brown Jug)
Nino Tempo ... Nino
Tommy Sheridan ... Dale
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eddie Borden ... Circus Performer (uncredited)
Dolores Castle ... Gert (uncredited)
William 'Wee Willie' Davis ... Truck Driver (uncredited)
Joan Delmer ... Young Girl (uncredited)

Alvin Hammer ... Telegrapher (uncredited)
Gracie Hanneford ... Circus Performer (uncredited)
Poodles Hanneford ... Clown (uncredited)
Bill Quinlan ... Ben (uncredited)
George Tyne ... Charlie (uncredited)
Max Wagner ... Bartender (uncredited)

Directed by
Lewis Milestone 
Writing credits
John Steinbeck (by)

John Steinbeck (screen play)

Produced by
Lewis Milestone .... producer
Charles K. Feldman .... executive producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Aaron Copland 
Cinematography by
Tony Gaudio (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Harry Keller (film editor)
Production Design by
Nicolai Remisoff 
Art Direction by
Victor Greene 
Set Decoration by
John McCarthy Jr. (set decorations)
Charles S. Thompson (set decorations) (as Charles Thompson)
Costume Design by
Adele Palmer 
Makeup Department
Peggy Gray .... hair stylist
Bob Mark .... makeup supervisor
Louise Landmier .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Production Management
Nate Watt .... production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Robert Aldrich .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Victor B. Appel .... sound
Howard Wilson .... sound
Special Effects by
Howard Lydecker .... special photographic effects
Theodore Lydecker .... special photographic effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Glen Kaiser .... grip (uncredited)
Donald Biddle Keyes .... still photographer (uncredited)
Thomas Morris .... camera operator (uncredited)
Sid Swaney .... gaffer (uncredited)
Music Department
R. Dale Butts .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Louis Kaufman .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Nathan Scott .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Francis Cugat .... associate technicolor color director
Charles K. Feldman .... presenter
Natalie Kalmus .... technicolor color director
Norman Lloyd .... assistant to producer
Don Weis .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"John Steinbeck's The Red Pony" - UK (complete title), USA (complete title)
See more »
89 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Finland:S | UK:U (original rating) (passed with cuts) | UK:PG (tv rating) | UK:PG (video rating: cut by 11 sec) (2010) | UK:PG (video rating) (1986) (2010) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #12907) | West Germany:6
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

In one of the school scenes, the children say the Pledge of Allegiance with their right arms extended, pointed toward the flag. This was the Bellamy Salute suggested by Francis Bellamy, who wrote the original version of the Pledge. Due to its similarity to the Nazi and Fascist salute, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the position to hand-over-the-heart. This was later codified into law in 1942.See more »
Continuity: 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 »
Movie Connections:
Shall We Gather at the River?See more »


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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
A Modest, Worthwhile Steinbeck-Penned Tale with a Powerful Copland Score and a Grade-A Cast, 8 September 2008
Author: Ed Uyeshima from San Francisco, CA, USA

The most truly American of classical composers, Aaron Copland's stirring music score is what still resonates most in this almost forgotten 1949 film, even though it boasts an impressive pedigree - a screenplay by John Steinbeck based on his own collection of short stories, direction from film veteran Lewis Milestone ("All Quiet on the Western Front", Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men"), and A-list stars in Robert Mitchum and Myrna Loy. It was the most expensive picture ever made at Republic Studios, a poverty-row operation that was kept afloat thanks to a successful string of John Wayne westerns. On the surface, the movie seems like kid-friendly fare, but it also presents some interesting psychological subtext on the family unit and a surprisingly graphic scene that triggers the story's climax.

The story focuses on a young boy named Tom Tiflin, who lives with his parents on a ranch in the Salinas Valley. His no-nonsense mother Alice was raised in the area, but his emotionally indifferent father Fred comes from San Jose and has never felt at home despite spending years on the ranch. On a long-term visit to the ranch, Alice's father is an old coot who repeats the same stories about the old West much to the consternation of Fred. Moreover, Fred's constantly conflicted state has pushed Tom closer to devoted ranch hand Billy Buck. Family tensions give way to a red pony, Fred's present to Tom. Naturally, the boy focuses his full attention on the pony, even cutting class to take care of it after it ambled outside during a heavy rainstorm. The rest of the story plays the way one would expect from a parable about personal obligations and coping with tragedy. Milestone lends a painterly quality to the proceedings, but he doesn't delve deeply into the characters' motivations. This was probably an intentional decision since the picture seems designed to be more of a Disney-type live-action film. The superficial treatment, however, leaves some aspects of the story oddly unexplained.

The resulting lapse leaves the actors to fill in the blanks. Even in a sketchily written role like Billy, Mitchum exudes his famously coiled presence in the face of a character that seems too good to be true. Stripped of her sophisticated charms, a ghostly-looking Loy lends a stoic dignity to Alice that gives just a small glimpse into the marital struggles her character is obviously facing. A year away from playing his archetypal role of Oliver Wendell Holmes in "The Magnificent Yankee", Louis Calhern brings bluster and unexpected poignancy to the grandfather. As Fred, Steinbeck look-alike Shepperd Strudwick does the best he can in a relatively thankless role. Nine-year-old Peter Miles is generally affecting as Tom, though he can't seem to get past the boy's obsession into something more moving. That is indeed the Wicked Witch of the West, Margaret Hamilton, playing a minor role as Tom's perturbed schoolteacher. As noted with Loy's appearance, the color seems sadly faded in the print housed in the 2003 DVD, and unfortunately there are no extras offered - a true shame considering the talent involved.

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