Misty (1961) Poster

(1961)

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3/10
It has its charm, but it looks like the budget was about $49.95
MartinHafer13 January 2008
When I was a kid, my family went on vacation year after year to Chincoteague Island (off the Virginia Coast). It was a nice quiet place with sort of a Mayberry charm, though, like most places, it's not exactly the same any more. One of the old memories I have of the island was their adoration of the book and movie about Misty. Everywhere you went, shops sold the books as well as horse souvenirs. And, oddly, the local movie theater was STILL showing the movie MISTY--years after it first debuted. Up through the 1970s, they STILL were showing the film (in addition to other films, thank goodness). The reason? Well, the original title of the book was "Misty of Chincoteague" and was about one of the many wild ponies roaming this and nearby Assateague Island. And wow did everyone seem to love it, though not being an especially great horse lover, I didn't see what all the fuss was about and never saw the film when I visited the island.

Years later, I decided to finally give the film a look--after all, maybe I was missing something. After seeing it, I really don't think I was missing anything. If you adore horses, then you'll no doubt be able to look past the pathetic acting and bare-bones budget. If you aren't a fan of horse films, then the films many, many short-comings will seem even more apparent. The bottom line is that I felt the film was incredibly dull and the print looked as if it was filmed with a Super 8mm camera. The only things that interested me were scenes of the island before it became a tourist mecca--THAT was interesting.

So if you see the movie, you'll need to ask yourself, "am I a rabid fan of the books or of ponies?". If so, then by all means see this film. Otherwise, don't say I didn't warn you--it's really bad.
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5/10
Just Plain Dull!
JohnHowardReid16 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Made with the co-operation of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Westrex Sound System. Producer: Robert B. Radnitz. Copyright 23 February 1961 by 20th Century-Fox Film Corp. New York opening at the Normandie: 17 July 1961. U.S. release: 17 July 1961. U.K. release: 24 September 1961. Australian release: 31 August 1961. 8,252 feet. 92 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: Recently orphaned 12-year-old Paul Beebe and his younger sister Maureen go to live on their grandparents' pony ranch on the tiny island of Chincoteague, Virginia. Each year, on Pony-Penning day, the natives cross over to the nearby island of Assateague to round up herds of wild ponies.* When the two youngsters make their first trip to Assateague, they manage to bring in The Phantom, an elusive mare that has never been caught, as well as her newly-born colt, which they name Misty.

NOTES: Only movie of Chincoteague resident, Duke Farley.

COMMENT: There are two kinds of movies which often date very badly. The first is the sex comedy, the second, the youth picture. Of course, there are exceptions. The risqué comedies of the early 1930's still seem as pointedly hilarious in 1998, whereas their brethren of the 1950's and 60's now appear strained, gauche and totally unfunny.

Also embarrassingly unrealistic or just plain boring to today's youngsters are the teenage frolics that delighted their parents. "Misty", I'm afraid is no exception. It's dull. My fourteen-year-old daughter was bored stiff. She thought the story "pathetic". I did too.

The only point of interest I had, was trying to decide which shots were photographed by Lee Garmes, which by Leo Tover. I think Garmes did the round-up and Tover all the stuff on the beach, but don't quote me.

Maybe trimming would help. Certainly at 92 minutes "Misty" kicks around far too long. I'd take the scissors to most of the studio interiors with Arthur O'Connell and Anne Seymour. Miss Seymour is a dull actress even at her best.

Yes, the locations are novel, and they look nice in CinemaScope. But the story is just one long cliché. And this familiar tale is often very amateurishly acted and — even worse — consistently directed in an extremely flat, mundane and thoroughly pedestrian style.

OTHER VIEWS: This simple and authentically colorful tale, which seems bound to charm the teen and sub-teen legions, may also get the vote of their elders willing to overlook the obvious, and occasional stretch of tedium. — A.H. Weiler in The New York Times.
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6/10
Hangin with the Bebee's
sol-kay1 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILERS** Despite the films misleading title "Misty" it's really about Misty's mom the free spirited 3 year old filly known as The Phantom. It was both Paul and his sister Maureen Bebee ,David Ladd & Pam Smith, who wanted to buy The phantom after she was caught in what's known as the annual pony penning or roundup on Assateague Island. The two youngsters working their fingers to the bone had saved up over $100.00 in order to buy her.

Wanting this to be a surprise to their grandparents Grandpa and Grandma Bebee, Arthur O'Connell & Anne Seymour,this had the townspeople in the little town of Chincoteagur Virginia feeling that they, Grandpa & Grandma Bebee, were deep in hock and tried, by giving them unneeded credit, to help them out! Meanwhile during the roundup of wild Spanish ponies from the nearby Assateague Island The Phantom had given birth to a foal-Misty-which made her far more easy to catch, in protecting her young,then in the previous year. It was in fact Paul who saved Misty's life when she almost drowned trying to swim,together with her mom and some 100 other wild ponies, to shore on the mainland.

Paul in being too shy to ask the chief of Chincoteague's volunteer fire department, whom the ponies were rounded up for, fire chief Eba Jones, Duke Farley, to buy both The Phantom and Misty off him he then sold them to another bidder! This was later rectified with the two sold back to Paul & Maueen when it was felt, by the person who bought them, they needed the two horses or ponies far more then he did by all the effort and work they put into getting them! By the time the film was over The Phantom was involved in a match race on the beach and beat, shades of Zenyatta & Genuine Risk, top Chincoteague colt and racing champ the Black Comet by what look like at least ten lengths. There was also the bittersweet ending in the film with The Phantom leaving little Misty, to her owners the Bebee's, and swimming back to Assateague Island and to her mate,or stallion, the white black & gray Pide Pipper!

As we soon learned The Phantom had done all she could for her yearling Misty and with her knowing that she's back on the mainland with the Bebee's she decided to go or swim back home, Assateague Isand, and live the free and open life that she's used to. In her now knowing that her foal Misty now has a good and loving home of her own with the Bebee family on their Chincoteague horse farm.
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7/10
Very charming.
simnia-120 May 2006
I first saw this film around 1967 at a children's matinée, and I remember the young girls in the audience were really getting into it, especially at the line by the grandfather, "The Phantom's a piece of wind and sky." With the advent of DVDs, I sought to find this film, but it took me about three years to find out the title, which I had forgotten, then another month to locate a copy, since it was out of print on video.

I can appreciate more now why the girls in the audience that day loved this film. It's very charming. It has a very Disney/family style, a very solid, down-to-earth plot (none of that impossible modern "Spy Kids" stuff that relies on CGI effects), a lot of focus on animals and nature, a realistic style, subtle humor, cute pieces of dialog, a well-meshed plot, a warm family feeling, and a happy ending. A film like this shows that guns aren't needed to make a plot exciting or engrossing.

Another subtlety that stands out now is that the film is educational, in the same way that Disneyland used to be educational in the early 1960s: endless tidbits of knowledge are imparted via the dialog, such as that a "hand" is equal to four inches, or that a foal should not be fed sugar since that turns the horse into a biter, or that "breaking" a horse is different (and crueler) than "gentling" a horse. It's hard to come away from the film without having learned more about horses, or without having developed more of an appreciation of horses. Also, the locations and history of the annual pony roundup are authentic, so a bit of geographical and historical knowledge is imparted, as well.

The scenery is also very nice, with a lot of sandy beaches, sand dunes, coastal pine forest, and open fields with horses running free. The small town feeling with its carnival and everybody knowing everybody else is also very nice. Other than the old-fashioned clothes and hair styles, this film seems a lot more modern than its 1961 date would suggest, and it still stands up well in this modern era without seeming excessively sweet or having ridiculous humor. There are also some gender equality issues thrown into the plot, which makes it ahead of its time. The grandparent-grandchild relationship might be a bit contrived, as is the subject matter of horses, and the boy performing a heroic deed by saving a horse from drowning, but unless one is looking to be critical, such aspects of the plot don't seem out-of-place.

This is a solid family film that should still be enjoyable for all ages, especially for horse lovers.
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7/10
New widescreen version is the one to see!
jobla26 November 2008
The Koch DVD label has just released MISTY on DVD, and they have gone the extra mile by presenting the film in its original widescreen aspect ratio (2:35-1). In widescreen, much of the Chincoteague scenery is quite breathtaking, with wide green vistas, etc. The movie is still the same charming family film that it was back in 1961. Many people have no idea how popular that film was, back in its day. I believe it was one of the highest grossing (non-Disney) family films of the year. It was produced by Robert Radnitz, who specialized in excellent quality family programming (ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS, WHERE THE LILIES BLOOM, MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, and SOUNDER)
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8/10
A time capsule and loving homage
sithich8 January 2012
As a Marylander, this film is clearly a loving homage to the islands of Chincoteague and Assateague. A darling film, with a cast containing many locals, and actual Beebe family members (and their accents), this film has heart. Had to be a labor of love, or they would have brought in professional actors for it all, and left the look and feel of the locals on the cutting room floor. Instead we get a time capsule of a Mayberry style life, that was unique to the nation. You can still go to the pony crossing, and you can still buy ponies, but after some folk thought they could put the foals in their car trunks for the ride home, things changed, and they cost a lot more than they did then.

My 9-year-old daughter is sitting next to me, here in 2012, transfixed by this 1961 film. A must see.
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8/10
Very Sweet
laurabetha31 January 2004
This is very sweet film! As a child I fell in love the novel about "Misty". I was fortunate to traveling to Virginia and witness the Pony Penning event. The horses were awesome and the film was actually shot on location and seemed very authentic! I viewed the film while on vacation and happened to run across it last night on television. I think I liked it even better this time around!
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