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Casey is a young boy in a family that trains racehorses. His best friend, a foal they call "Casey's Shadow", looks to be a loser, but comes out a champion. Written by
Martin Lewison <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Actor Walter Matthau was in real life a fan of the race-track and a big gambler. Matthau had long wanted to make a racing picture and said of this, "Casey's Shadow (1978) is the first race picture that's come my way that I've liked". A couple of years later Matthau followed up this horse racing movie with another, Little Miss Marker (1980). See more »
(at around 8 mins) Lloyd closes a book that he is trying to get Casey to read, but shortly after that it is open again. See more »
Casey's Shadow takes the movie viewer into the world of quarter horse racing. So named because the total distance one travels is a quarter of a mile. Two furlongs for those of us who follow thoroughbred racing. The horses are just bred for speed, no rating these animals. Just fly out of the starting gate faster than the rest.
Walter Matthau stars as a trainer who is a widower named Lloyd Bourdelle with three sons, Steve Burns, Andrew Rubin, and Michael Hershawe. The oldest who is Burns buys a quarter horse mare in foal at a steal. The mare dies, but her colt has great potential and is named for the youngest son Casey's Shadow.
This is a racing family these kids are as involved as their father is in the world of the track, like they'd have any choice if they didn't want the life. They also could badly use a woman's touch around the place, possibly to smooth out the rough edges. A wife might very well have stopped Matthau from making some critical mistakes that affect all around him, not just the family. There's a beautiful shot of the dirty dishes at the family trailer showing how badly these men have let themselves go to seed.
Sporting a walrus mustache like you would have seen a century earlier, Matthau does fine in mastering a Louisiana French Cajun accent as the book the film is based on makes it clear what the family origins are and how proud of them. The kids love the old man, but also see how flawed a character he is and the mistakes he's headed for. But Matthau wants to win Futurity at the famous Ruidoso Downs Quarter Horse track at any cost.
Others in the cast that stand out are Alexis Smith as an owner of quarter horses and Robert Webber a very different and cruel owner of the breed.
This is a nice boy and horse story especially with Hershawe and how he takes to the new colt. But it eschews a lot of the clichés with starring animal pictures and is refreshingly different.
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