When I first saw this film as a child, on a B&W TV, I thought The Albino was the most beautiful horse I had ever seen.
50 years later the film still has its moments and Beautiful Scenery. But why do we get Gus's girl instead of Ken's older brother, Howard? Gus didn't have a girl. Why do we get so-so horses representing animals that have been carefully bred? And not nearly enough foals in the band of mares. And Flicka as a sidebar.
Banner was a sorrel. Not a mahogany/black.
Stallions? I didn't see any stallions. There isn't a testicle in the lot. Stallions don't rear and whinny to herd their mares. They bellow and squeal and snake their heads along the ground. The ending horse fight (wild stallion battles rarely end in death) is disturbing when I stop to consider what they had to do to get those two geldings to fight so terribly. (and even in the book, the only reason Thunderhead wins despite being only a 3 year old, is the Albino must be nearly 20! Range stallions are past their prime by 8-10)
The book is an almost spiritual read. Real people and real horses and real hardships and near-spiritual bonding with horses. There are absolutely lyrical chapters from Thunderhead's point of view, as he roams and encounters the Albino for the first time and barely survives. How he learns. How he is trained. Matures. Wins.
With a strong mother, not a hand-wringer.
And don't get me going about "Green Grass of Wyoming" - the only thing that one had in common with the book is the title and Thunderhead stealing an expensive, imported English filly.
I am not sure I'd recommend this film to children today. It disturbed me as a child, especially the fight and death of horses.
Yet, if you allow for the moral and technical standards of the time, this 1945 movie must have been striking.
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