7.3/10
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The Rocking Horse Winner (1949)

Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy | 30 November 1949 (UK)
A young boy receives a rocking horse for Christmas and soon learns that he is able to pick the winning horse at the races.

Director:

Anthony Pelissier (as Anthony Pélissier)

Writers:

D.H. Lawrence (short story), Anthony Pelissier (screenplay) (as Anthony Pélissier)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Valerie Hobson ... Hester Grahame
John Howard Davies ... Paul Grahame
Ronald Squire ... Oscar Cresswell
John Mills ... Bassett
Hugh Sinclair ... Richard Grahame
Charles Goldner Charles Goldner ... Mr. Tsaldouris
Susan Richards ... Nannie
Cyril Smith Cyril Smith ... Bailiff
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Storyline

In London, the young Paul Grahame lives with his upper class, but financially broken family. His wasteful mother Hester Grahame is a compulsive buyer, spending all the family money on new expensive dresses, jewels, and objects for their house. His father Richard Grahame is a gambler, losing money in the horse races. His uncle Oscar Cresswell is permanently covering the Grahame family debts. When the servant Bassett is hired, Paul finds that he can predict the winner of the horse races by rocking his wooden horse. Paul asks Bassett to become his partner. The two of them bet their money on the races. Paul wants to prove that he is lucky in order to silence the house, which perpetually whispers to him that it needs more money. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Story of a Boy Who Couldn't Win...A Horse That Couldn't Lose...And a House That Couldn't Rest! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 November 1949 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Amartiai goneon See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Commenting on this movie, John Baxter in his book "Science Fiction in the Cinema" (1970) notes that: "The ability to pick horse-race results is probably British sf's only genuine contribution to the list of sf film elements." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bassett: Are you looking for me?
Paul Grahame: You're Bassett, aren't you?
See more »

Connections

Version of The Rocking Horse Winner (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Silent Night
(uncredited)
Music by Franz Xaver Gruber
English lyrics by John Freeman Young
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautifully done dark fantasy
4 December 2008 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

This is about a British family. The mother (Valerie Hobson) spends beyond her means. The father gambles...badly and loses his job. The family is close to bankruptcy when their young son Paul (John Howard Davies) develops this uncanny ability to predict winners in horse races. How does he do it? By riding his rocking horse.

I read the D.H. Lawrence short story back in college in the 1980s and never forgot it. I heard about this film but was afraid to see it...I didn't think there was any way to film the story without it looking stupid. Also this movie is hard to find. I finally did catch it and I was impressed. They managed to take a very dark and strange short story and make an excellent movie out of it. It moves quickly (it's only 90 minutes) and I was never bored for one second. The acting really helps to carry this one. Hobson is just OK as the mother but Davies as the little boy, John Mills as Bassett and Ronald Squire as Uncle Oscar are just great. Ultimately the movie is sad and depressing but just incredible. This was way too ahead of its time to connect with audiences of 1950 and it (sadly) remains unknown to this day. Well worth seeing.


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