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James Robertson Justice
In WWII Austria, Col. Alois Podhajsky must protect his beloved Lipizzaner stallions and make sure that they are surrendered into the right hands. But Patton's something of a horse fancier and can help...if he sees the stallions perform. Written by
7/10 ****/5 ~ Underrated, intelligent, mature Walt Disney adventure.
This exceptional live-action Walt Disney adventure-drama might have benefited from a warmer actor in the lead role, but Robot Taylor (pun intended) nevertheless brings strength and conviction to the part of an angry but caring man. The supporting cast is uniformly excellent, especially Lilli Palmer and Curt Jurgens who supply a depth of emotion to a dry and unsentimental story.
The film works the family-oriented animal interest of the Lippizan horses into the framework of a dramatic and often suspenseful wartime adventure. One needn't be a horse-lover to be caught up in the story and end up caring about the animals which in this film are symbols of art, grace and beauty surviving a war-torn world. The audience is teased with glimpses of the stallions at play and in training and learns to appreciate their value so that the full-blown horse-show finale comes as a welcome joy.
The well-produced movie was filmed on location in Austria and is handsomely photographed. There is a gripping battle scene and adults will be impressed with the maturity of the entire project.
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