It's the Depression, and everyone needs to hold onto a dream to get them through the bad times. Car maker Charles Howard is no different, he who is trying to rebuild his life after the tragic death of his only child and the resulting end of his first marriage. With second wife Marcela at his side, Charles wants to get into horse racing and ends up with a team of underdogs who are also chasing their own dream. The first is trainer Tom Smith, who has a natural instinct to spot the capabilities of horses. The second is the horse Tom chooses for Charles, Seabiscuit, an unconventional choice as despite his pedigreed lineage, Seabiscuit is small at fifteen and a half hands tall with a slight limp. But Tom can see something in Seabiscuit's nature to make him a winner, if only Seabiscuit can be retrained from his inbred losing ways. And third is the jockey they decide to hire, Johnny "Red" Pollard, so nicknamed because of his hair color. Like Tom, Red has always shown a natural way with ... Written by
A contraption called Equicizer was used to film the close-up action. It resembled a hobby horse. It was a mechanical horse that had springs, a wooden head and a carpet body. It was affectionately called SS Seabiscuit. In reality, it was a 12 ft by 20 ft rolling platform with a steering wheel in the rear and front. It simulated the rolling action of a running horse and yet it ran on rails around the track. It was powered by a 454 Chevy engine and could go at a speed of 40-50 mph. See more »
During Seabiscuit's Santa Anita Handicap win, he is running dead last early in the race. The charts for the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap show Seabiscuit running no worse than fourth at any point during the race. In fact, he was in perfect striking position around the first turn and down the backstretch. See more »
Where is the horse?
[cut to Charles Howard having Seabiscuit stamping his hoof on papers for a crowd]
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A fabulous movie! It offers credibility to the old saying that 'if there's a will, there's a way.' It's a great reminder that there had been people - of yesteryears - who had been brave and courageous to accept the underdogs with heartfelt benevolence.
As a film, revolving around the inspiring story of Seabiscuit, it works well. It connects the cultural icon with the life paths of three men of different social standings, leading me through a mixed journey of tragedies and jubilation, risks, disappointments and exuberance. It shows how these men and beast overcome incredible odds to achieve their goals. The bonding of the quartet is wonderfully captured in this film. Watching the horse transformed into a winner is as aesthetically beautiful as seeing 'Cinderella' transformed into a beauty by her three 'fairy godmothers.' This film has a compelling story that salutes the American dream.
This adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's book, unfortunately, does omit a great deal of the interesting biographical accounts of the trio's lives and the historical impressions of the nation's era between 1903-1940. But Director Gary Ross (watch out for his cameo appearance) does provide sufficient background to the lives of Charles Howard, Jim Smith and Red Pollard to justify how the trio becomes ultimately involved with the life of Seabiscuit. The small spirited bay is first introduced as a colt, and Red as a young kid, both ultimately separated from their parents, and both subjecting the viewers never to forget their crooked legs and their predisposition for indolence! Strangely, the film does show many similarities, in traits and circumstances, between Seabiscuit and Red. Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper and Toby Maguire are impressive in their roles. They are convincing sources to what is meant by perseverance and triumph. William H. Macy does 'tick-tock' through several scenes to provide the comic relief.
The film is filled with dramatically charming appeal and beauty, yet it has not failed to expose the brutality of horseracing. even if Seabiscuit's glory had distracted millions away from the political, social and economic woes of their times. The visuals for the story's historical era are wonderfully detailed, creating a sense of realism to the period, the characters and events. The choice of Randy Newman's music scores helps build up the viewers' emotions especially in the race scenes.
Seabiscuit is a winner!
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