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National Velvet

(1944 c 123')

En: 7 Ed: 7

Based on Enid Bagnold's novel, a girl and an orphan train a horse for the British national race and receive help from her parents.

In England during the late 1920s three sisters start summer vacation. Edwina Brown (Angela Lansbury) has a boyfriend. Velvet Brown (Elizabeth Taylor) and the wanderer Mi Taylor (Mickey Rooney) see a new horse jump a fence, and Velvet stops the horse. Mi has dinner with the Browns and is invited to stay in the stable. Mrs. Brown (Anne Revere) tells Velvet that Mi's late father trained her to swim the channel. Mr. Brown (Donald Crisp) hires Mi to work for him. Mi tells Velvet that he hates horses, but she loves them. Velvet guides Mi on a meat delivery, and they see the horse Pie jump over a wall. Because of the damage, the horse is put up in a raffle. Velvet asks her father to buy tickets, but Mi already got some. Velvet wins the horse. She rides Pie and jumps over fences.

Mr. Brown wants to make Pie work for his oats, but Pie breaks the cart. Velvet asks Mi to train Pie for the Grand National, and she has already written for information. Velvet's mother offers her swimming prize money for the entry fee. Mi takes the hundred pounds to London with all his clothes. Mi drinks beer and is tempted by some gamblers, but he refuses their offer. Mi returns to Mr. Brown with the change. Velvet offers Mi half the stakes.

Mi sets up a course with jumps, and Velvet rides Pie. Edwina loses her boyfriend, and Pie becomes ill. Velvet trusts Mi to treat him, and he gets well. They practice for the national course. Local friends bet on Pie, and Mr. Brown does so secretly. Mi and Velvet leave early in the morning.

Mi hires the jockey Taski, but Velvet says he does not believe he can win. She asks Mi to ride Pie, but he says he caused an accident that killed a jockey. At night Mi rides Pie and then finds Velvet in the jockey's clothes. She wants to win and has Mi cut her hair. Mi tells Velvet not to talk and passes her off as a boy from Latvia who cannot speak English. The race begins, and many of the horses have trouble with the jumps. Mi is unable to see, but Velvet is doing well and moves up. Pie wins, and Velvet falls off the horse, bringing an objection. Velvet is carried on a stretcher, and a doctor reports that the jockey is a girl. Pie is disqualified.

Velvet comes home. Mr. Brown tells neighbors that she is not being prosecuted, but they lost the prize. Mr. Brown gets lucrative offers and asks Velvet to go to America with Pie, but she won't make the horse go. Mi packs to leave and only says goodbye to Mr. Brown. Velvet finds that Mi is gone, and Mrs. Brown lets her go tell Mi about his father.

This charming story shows the beauty of rural life in England and suggests that parents with good and strong characters can bring out the same in their children.

Copyright © 2005 by Sanderson Beck

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