IMDb > The Rocking Horse Winner (1949)

The Rocking Horse Winner (1949) More at IMDbPro »

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The Rocking Horse Winner -- This haunting tale of a boy driven to the limits of his life by his mother's materialism is based on one of D. H. Lawrence's most enduring short works. Plagued by his mother's obsession with money, a young boy discovers that by riding his toy rocking horse, he can predict the outcome of future horse races. But the more he wins, the more his mother spends, and the stakes get higher and higher.

Overview

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Up 20% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
D.H. Lawrence (short story)
Anthony Pelissier (screenplay)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Rocking Horse Winner on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
30 November 1949 (UK) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
"One of the finest portrayals of youthful distress that you are ever likely to witness." -- N.Y. TIMES See more »
Plot:
A young boy receives a rocking horse for Christmas and soon learns that he is able to pick the winning horse at the races. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
NewsDesk:
(3 articles)
San Andreas 3-D
 (From Trailers from Hell. 12 October 2015, 7:26 PM, PDT)

John Howard Davies obituary
 (From The Guardian - TV News. 25 August 2011, 3:50 AM, PDT)

John Howard Davies obituary
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 25 August 2011, 3:50 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
No Kid's Film Here See more (22 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Valerie Hobson ... Hester Grahame
John Howard Davies ... Paul Grahame
Ronald Squire ... Oscar Cresswell

John Mills ... Bassett
Hugh Sinclair ... Richard Grahame
Charles Goldner ... Mr. Tsaldouris
Susan Richards ... Nannie
Cyril Smith ... Bailiff
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Anthony Holles ... Bowler Hat (uncredited)
Melanie McKenzie ... Matilda Grahame (uncredited)
Michael Ripper ... 2nd Chauffeur (uncredited)
Johnnie Schofield ... 1st Chauffeur (uncredited)
Caroline Steer ... Joan Grahame (uncredited)

Directed by
Anthony Pelissier  (as Anthony Pélissier)
 
Writing credits
D.H. Lawrence (short story)

Anthony Pelissier (screenplay) (as Anthony Pélissier)

Produced by
John Mills .... producer
Earl St. John .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
William Alwyn 
 
Cinematography by
Desmond Dickinson (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
John Seabourne Sr.  (as John Seabourne)
 
Casting by
Maude Spector 
 
Art Direction by
Carmen Dillon 
 
Makeup Department
Tony Sforzini .... makeup supervisor
Vivienne Walker .... hairdressing supervisor
Trevor Crole-Rees .... makeup assistant (uncredited)
Betty Dymore .... hairdressing assistant (uncredited)
Bob Lawrance .... makeup assistant (uncredited)
Nora Ridgeway .... hairdressing assistant (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Andrew Allan .... production manager
Phil C. Samuel .... production supervisor
Herbert Smith .... executive in charge of production
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Robert Asher .... assistant director
Frank Ernst .... third assistant director (uncredited)
Alec Gibb .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
R.B. Aunger .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Alec J. Henshaw .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Bill Holmes .... draughtsman (uncredited)
H. Don Lee .... draughtsman (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
George Croll .... sound recordist
Harry Miller .... sound editor
John W. Mitchell .... sound recordist
Danny Daniel .... boom assistant (uncredited)
Peter Davies .... first assistant dubbing mixer (uncredited)
Basil Fenton-Smith .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Jack Goodwin .... sound maintenance (uncredited)
Gus Lloyd .... boom operator (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Francis Carver .... special effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
H.A.R. Thomson .... camera operator (as Russell Thomson)
George Cannon .... still photographer (uncredited)
Reginald H. Morris .... focus puller (uncredited)
Alex Thomson .... clapper loader (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Bert Brown .... wardrobe assistant (uncredited)
Doris Corby .... wardrobe assistant (uncredited)
Mrs. W. Jackson .... wardrobe mistress (uncredited)
Fred Pridmore .... wardrobe supervisor (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Anne V. Coates .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Les Wiggins .... second assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Muir Mathieson .... conductor
David McCallum Sr. .... orchestra leader (as David McCallum)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra .... music player (as The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)
 
Other crew
Tilly Day .... continuity
Ray Cunnington .... floor publicist (uncredited)
Doreen Dearnaley .... production secretary (uncredited)
Ken Green .... publicist (uncredited)
Roy Munns .... office runner (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
USA:91 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Quotes:
[first lines]
Bassett:Are you looking for me?
Paul Grahame:You're Bassett, aren't you?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of The Rocking Horse Winner (1977) (TV)See more »

FAQ

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22 out of 22 people found the following review useful.
No Kid's Film Here, 3 December 2008
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

This particular D.H. Lawrence story has been done three additional times since this version came out in 1950. They would have to go some to compete with this film for drama and suspense.

I had never seen this film before tonight and the title is so incredibly deceptive. I expected a charming children's fantasy, but got something quite a bit different. One thing I would never do is allow small kids to see The Rocking Horse Winner. They will have nightmare's for years and will NEVER want to get on a rocking horse if you have one.

Hugh Sinclair and Valerie Hobson play a pair of post World War II self indulgent parents who are living way beyond their means, like a lot of folks are today on both sides of the pond. He gambles and she spends money on luxury items like there's no tomorrow. Her brother Ronald Squire bails her out a lot, but he's having no more of it.

All this is having an effect on the United Kingdom's best known child star of the time John Howard Davies. He's the oldest of the three kids and a withdrawn, but sensitive kid who knows there's something wrong.

Davies makes friends with the new handyman John Mills who is a wounded war veteran and before the war used to work as jockey in his youth. When Davies gets among other things a rocking horse for Christmas, Mills shows him how to ride ace-deuce, jockey style. Davies becomes obsessed with the horse and after a while he starts imagining the horse telling him about winning tips at the local track. When he's "really sure" these ponies have a habit of coming in.

Given these plot premises it sounds like you're setting up a comedy, but actually what we get is tragedy here, a stark a bitter tragedy.

Anthony Pellisier wrote and directed and John Mills produced this film for J. Arthur Rank. Pellisier used some unique and terrifying camera angles and makes the rocking horse an incredibly sinister figure. And he doesn't do too bad with his human players either.

The Rocking Horse Winner after almost 60 years still holds up well as one of the most sinister films I've ever seen. Don't be fooled by the title, definitely NOT one to have the kids view.

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