It's the Depression, and everyone needs to hold onto a dream to get them through the bad times. Car maker Charles Howard is no different, he who is trying to rebuild his life after the tragic death of his only child and the resulting end of his first marriage. With second wife Marcela at his side, Charles wants to get into horse racing and ends up with a team of underdogs who are also chasing their own dream. The first is trainer Tom Smith, who has a natural instinct to spot the capabilities of horses. The second is the horse Tom chooses for Charles, Seabiscuit, an unconventional choice as despite his pedigreed lineage, Seabiscuit is small at fifteen and a half hands tall with a slight limp. But Tom can see something in Seabiscuit's nature to make him a winner, if only Seabiscuit can be retrained from his inbred losing ways. And third is the jockey they decide to hire, Johnny "Red" Pollard, so nicknamed because of his hair color. Like Tom, Red has always shown a natural way with ...Written by
Jockey Red Pollard is shown to keep his weight down by starving to 115 pounds. This was because Seabiscuit, when young and already small, had to run in what are called handicap races. The "handicap" is an added weight that is assigned to each horse according to its past races and its predicted ability to run against horses who weigh more or less than it does. Many jockeys will starve themselves so that their horse will carry as little weight as possible - their own weight plus the lead weights which are laid into the saddle of the running horses. Red Pollard, at 5'7", raced against professionals who were 5'3" - but many jockeys will do almost anything if they love racing enough and are daring enough to risk their bodies. See more »
The scenes at Pimlico and Santa Anita Racecourses show ovals equipped with the modern Fontana Safety rail, which is very wide at the top. These rails were not
adopted in the US until the late 1980s. In the 1930s, the rails were narrow. See more »
So here it is: a story about a horse that would give spirit to a whole nation, after the depression of the late 20's and early 30's. Make it a story where the horse and it's jockey have to overcome injury to win it's final great race, and you got your tearjerker (and, therefore, Oscar winner) right there.
But, somehow, 'Seabiscuit' is much more than that. What is definitely a help, is it's incredible cast. Tobey McGuire once more shows he's one of the better youngsters around in Hollywood, and old-timers Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper will do the rest for ya, even though Cooper is not at his best here as Tom Smith, the trainer for the horse. Then there's William H. Macy in a hilarious role as 'Tick Tock McGlaughlin', a radio presenter.
The life-story we follow the most though is that of Charles Howard (Bridges), owner of the horse. As a self-made millionaire selling cars, who lost his son due to a car-accident, he finds a little bit of joy back to life, with his new wife and his new love, the horsing business. His inspirational speeches make 'Seabiscuit' a crowd-pleaser, in particular that of the 'common people', who recognize themselves in the little horse.
As said, the movie is a little bit too much of a happy ending story to really make it into the 'classic' category, but the movie looks great and hasn't got a boring moment in it. Good acting all around therefore make it a very pleasant movie experience. Although the 7 academy award nominations were a little bit much...
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