The Willards from Terre Haute, Indiana, travels abroad for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation in Paris, France. Harry Willard believes that the greatest problem will be avoiding tap water, but ... See full summary »
In this film, edited from eight episodes of Disney's hit TV series, Don Diego returns home to find his town under the heel of a cruel dictator, Capitan Monastario. Diego dons the mask of ... See full summary »
Supported avidly by his mother and more reluctantly at first by his father, a working-class Austrian boy joins the Vienna Choirboys, where he proves to be unusually talented. The standard ... See full summary »
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 "St. Martin" location where they kept the stallions after the evacuation was at Hermesvilla, a palace in the Lainzer Tiergarten, in Vienna, a former hunting area for the Habsburg nobility. During the post-WWII Russian occupation of Vienna from 1945-1955, the Villa was looted by the Soviets, became run down and remained in poor condition for a number of years. However, in 1963, the Disney movie "Miracle of the White Stallions" brought back the interest in the building. This led to a private initiative that motivated the Austrian authorities to renovate the Villa, and the renovation process lasted from 1968 until 1974. See more »
[All goofs for this title are spoilers.]
See more »
Great Disney film about the White Stallion's of Vienna
Despite a rather slow start, this film is absolutely classic Disney and well worth the time spent. Everyone should know the story of the Lipizzaner stallions and Col. Podhajsky, the man who risked everything to save them. The stallion's flight from Vienna at the tail end of WWII, and the fact that General Patton and the 3rd Army were heavily involved in their rescue, is exciting stuff and has achieved almost legendary proportions. It's to the film's credit that the viewer eventually gets wrapped up in the Colonel's crusade, and begins to feel a sense of wonder as random chance and pure luck conspire to save the Lipizzaner breed.
I would not have put Robert Taylor in the lead role of Col. Podhajsky, though. As he grew older he got stone-like in his acting, and this is one of his more granite-faced performances. Luckily for us they also cast Curt Jurgens, who plays a good Nazi for once. He is the standout in this production (human standout, that is; the horses are the real stars). He gives a bravura performance as a German General caught up in the atrocities of war with no idea how he could have ever gone along with the Nazis as long as he has. His eyes seem to bleed pain, and he gives the film a welcome dose of humanity as well as the viewpoint of a person who normally follows orders but who has had enough of doing what he doesn't believe in. Lilli Palmer plays the Colonel's wife, and she is more than adequate to the role.
Eddie Albert is used mostly for comic relief as a horse trainer, even singing a Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman song for us; fortunately he's good no matter what he does. And, an extremely young James Franciscus is an Army Major who plays a big role in interesting Patton in the horses, and also in liberating the mares and foals from a Russian onslaught in Czechoslovakia (and also a huge lot of American GI's being held prisoner in the same place); his 1000-watt smile is a welcome addition.
Bottom line, this is a wonderful film for the entire family, if you can get the kids to sit still through the slow beginning; the older they are the easier it will be. It's a film about a little-publicized event in WWII, and shows how the two sides worked side-by-side to save a treasured piece of Viennese history. The horses are gorgeous, and we don't see near enough of them, which is the only real detriment to this fine film about the marvelous White Stallions of Vienna and the Spanish Riding School.
32 of 33 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this