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The Rocking Horse Winner (1949)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 649 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 14 critic

A young boy receives a rocking horse for Christmas and soon learns that he is able to pick the winning horse at the races.

Director:

(as Anthony Pélissier)

Writers:

(short story), (screenplay)
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Title: The Rocking Horse Winner (1949)

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
John Howard Davies ...
Ronald Squire ...
...
Hugh Sinclair ...
Richard Grahame
Charles Goldner ...
Mr. Tsaldouris
Susan Richards ...
Nannie
Cyril Smith ...
Bailiff
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Storyline

In London, the young Paul Grahame lives with his upper class but financially broken family. His wasteful mother Hester Grahame is a compulsive buyer, spending all the family money on new expensive dresses, jewels and objects for their home. His father Richard Grahame is a gambler, losing money in the horse races. His uncle Oscar Cresswell is permanently covering the Grahame family debts. When the servant Bassett is hired, Paul finds that he can predict the winner of the horse races by rocking his wooden horse. Paul asks Bassett to become his partner. The two of them bet their money on the races. Paul wants to prove that he is lucky in order to silence the house, which perpetually whispers to him that it needs more money. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"One of the finest portrayals of youthful distress that you are ever likely to witness." -- N.Y. TIMES See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 November 1949 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Amartiai goneon  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[first lines]
Bassett: Are you looking for me?
Paul Grahame: You're Bassett, aren't you?
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Connections

Version of The Rocking Horse Winner (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the best fantasy films--and certainly one of the most disturbing!
1 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

Suspenseful, intriguing, disturbing, heartbreaking, atmospherically crafted by director and photographer, this is a gem of a movie that was too out of the rut to be appreciated by audiences in its day. The characters are not only totally believable but so convincingly acted that few viewers will have any difficulty accepting the plot's key supernatural premise. Because they are so credibly realistic, however, some of the people in this movie (the lad's mother and father, for instance) are far from sympathetic. This trait doubtless alienated contemporary audiences even further, particularly those looking for escape into an idealistic world of smilingly duty-bound, hardworking mothers and bumbling yet well-intentioned dads.

As stated, all the players are excellent—including producer John Mills who cast himself in a small but key role—but three are so outstanding it would churlish not to mention them individually: Valerie Hobson is perfect as the selfish, socially aspiring mum; John Howard Davies is likewise brilliant as the driven, psychotic boy of the title; and it's great to see Ronald Squire utilizing his talents to the full in a major role.

The pace never slackens and the movie incorporates so many unforgettably powerful scenes, it would be impossible to single just three or four for special praise.

In short: a masterpiece from screenwriter/director Anthony Pelissier (who handled only a handful of movies), photographer Desmond Dickinson and a fine array of artists and craftspeople under the control of actor/producer John Mills.


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