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National Velvet (1944) Poster

Trivia

After production was completed, arrangements were made to allow Elizabeth Taylor to keep the horse.
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Elizabeth Taylor fell from the horse and broke her back during the filming of the racing scene. Although she recovered quickly, she suffered greatly later in life.
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The story that Mi tells to Donald about a shipwrecked horse is based on a true story about a New Zealand-bred thoroughbred named "Moiffa" who did in fact survive his ordeal and went on to win the Grand National the following year. In 1979 Mickey Rooney starred in The Black Stallion (1979), which is about a shipwrecked horse that goes on to win a major race.
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12-year-old Elizabeth Taylor underwent drastic measures to prove that she was right for the role. Velvet Brown was supposed to be a girl in her late teens, going through the natural changes into womanhood. Taylor was told by the director that she couldn't be Velvet, as she was rather "boyish". This only provoked Elizabeth more; she ate steak everyday, doubled her portion of meals, and rode her horse constantly to train. In three months, Elizabeth grew three inches, and began to gain the natural curves of a woman. For her efforts alone, she won the role.
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Elizabeth Taylor fell in love with King Charles while visiting the Rivera Country Club..he was acquired by MGM for ($800) to star in the movie National Velvet with her. Elizabeth spent time each day riding, caring and bonding with him in order to prepare for her role in National Velvet. King Charles was reported to be aggressive to his handlers except for Elizabeth Taylor..she and King had a special bond that became evident throughout the Movie. At the end of the movie Elizabeth found she had been gifted with "The Pi" and she and King Charles remained together until his death.
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In 1941 MGM proposed filming the story with Shirley Temple and Spencer Tracy, but Temple's mother turned it down because she felt it did not showcase her daughter properly.
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The Pie was played by King Charles, a grandson of Man o' War and whose owner had trained him as a show jumper.
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The race-course map which Mi shows Velvet is an accurate portrayal of the real-life Grand National course at Aintree, near Liverpool. What's more, like the movie, the course actually has a Becher's Brook jump and a Canal Turn jump with its sharp left turn.
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King Charles, playing The Pie, was first-cousin of champion thoroughbred Seabiscuit, subject of two biopics. Both had Man O'War as grand-sire.
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One of the few films to be shown on commercial network television after being shown on local stations, rather than the other way around.
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Ranked #9 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Sports" in June 2008.
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"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 3, 1947 with Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney and Donald Crisp reprising their film roles.
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Eighteen-year-old Gene Tierney had been set to portray Velvet Brown. When the film was delayed, Tierney signed a contract with Twentieth Century-Fox.
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The scruffy-faced biege terrier playing the Brown family dog was arguably a bigger star than many of this film's human actors. She was "on loan" here from Columbia Pictures, where she had already achieved equal billing with Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake, playing "Daisy" in the first several of Columbia's 28 Blondie movies.
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Future British MP Baroness Shirley Williams auditioned for the Velvet Brown role.
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Carl and Eleanor Goldbogen appear as extras in the crowd scenes. Carl's brother was Avrom Goldbogen, professionally known as producer Mike Todd, who would become Elizabeth Taylor's third husband in 1957.
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Mickey Rooney had to film all his scenes in one month before he had to report for basic training to serve in World War Two.
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Premiered at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
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The music during the "lobster for dinner" scene between Mr. & Mrs. Brown is actually a very close paraphrase of "Ballet Of The Unhatched Chicks" from Moussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition" as orchestrated by Ravel. Moreover, film composer Herbert Stothart had actually used this exact music chart in 1940 for a sequence in "Pride & Prejudice."
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Despite the film's locale, no attempt was made by the cast to employ British accents. In fact, Anne Revere's Academy Award-winning performance as wise and unflappable Mrs. Brown was so entrancing that neither audiences nor critics pointed out that it was rendered with a pronounced New York accent.
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"Theater Guild on the Air" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 23, 1950 with Mickey Rooney reprising his film role.
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The horse in the movie was the grandson of the famous racehorse, Man o' War. His registered name was King Charles and he was a terror to work with, as he was regularly biting crew members. He did throw Elizabeth Taylor off; injuring her and ending up giving her a lifelong back injury.
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Susanna Foster turned down the role of Velvet Brown.
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The Title-card at the start of the film reads: England in the late nineteen twenties-- a long time ago in a spinning world.
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