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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.