In WWII Austria, Col. Alois Podhajsky must protect his beloved Lipizzaner stallions and make sure that they are surrendered into the right hands. But Patton's something of a horse fancier and can help...if he sees the stallions perform.Written by
The red uniform that is used at the end of the movie is not original. The Spanish Riding school never used a red uniform. Disney found the original brown uniform too simple for a gala opening and introduced these uniforms. See more »
[All goofs for this title are spoilers.]
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Until I saw this film, I was unaware of the peril in which the famous Viennese "Spanish Riding School" had been in during the Nazi occupation of WWII. Robert Taylor (Col. Podhajsky) helped rectify that with quite a touching portrayal of the Director of that school who has to convince the authorities - both Nazi and American - of the merits of protecting the rare Lipizzaner horses from extinction. It's a Disney film, so we are spared any brutality or exposure to the unpleasantness of war, but it still manages to convey something of the real danger this internationally renowned institution faced. Taylor manages by feats of legerdemain and sheer effrontery - aided by his sidekick Eddie Albert, his sympathetic commanding officer Curt Jürgens and James Franciscus, an American officer who had seen the Colonel ride in the Olympics - to smuggle the stallions out of Vienna as the Allies approach, but how to reconcile them with their mares (stranded in soon-to-be Russian Czechoslovakia) left a problem that could only be sorted by equine lover Gen. George S. Patten (John Larch). There are good supporting efforts from Brigitte Horney as the Countess who offers them a refuge and from Lilli Palmer as his wife, and it is an enjoyable watch with something of the skill of these beautiful horses and their riders demonstrated at the end.
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