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Black Beauty [Blu-ray]


Price: £12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Only 3 left in stock.
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Product details

  • Actors: Mark Lester, Walter Slezak, Peter Lee Lawrence
  • Directors: James Hill
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Odeon Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Oct. 2012
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008PV2WCA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,006 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

From Oscar-winning director James Hill* (Born Free, The Belstone Fox) comes this heart-warming adaptation of one of the best loved family stories of all time! Black Beauty, a magnificent stallion, is born on a rundown family farm and loved by young Joe Evans (Mark Lester Oliver!). Growing up together, the boy and his horse are inseparable until the wicked new squire (Patrick Mower) forces the Evans family from the farm and steals Black Beauty away from Joe. Escaping from his cruel new master, Black Beauty finds himself caught up in a series of adventures racing with gypsies, performing at the circus and even going to war. Back home, Joe has never given up hope of being reunited with Beauty, and is determined to find the great love of his childhood days once more... Adapted by Wolf Mankowitz (A Kid For Two Farthings), and beautifully filmed on location in Ireland and Spain, this true film classic has now been extensively digitally restored and remastered for its first stunning appearance on Blu-Ray. ACADEMY AWARDS and OSCARS are the registered trademarks and service mark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 1961 Best Documentary, Short Subjects: Giuseppina.

From Amazon.co.uk

It would be easy to pass by this movie, based on Anna Sewell's famous novel Black Beauty, on the assumption that it's dated and twee. Well, perhaps it is a little, but the sheer quality of the whole enterprise places it in the front rank of children's cinema classics. Screenwriter Wolf Mankowitz's ability to harness both literary and popular techniques in the same work (also true of his written fiction) remains unsurpassed in this captivating tale of Beauty's eventful life, from being raised as a foal by the devoted Joe (Lester), then passing through the hands of various owners before being purchased by, supposedly, Miss Sewell herself, to be once more cared for by a now-adult Joe who is in her employ. Along the way, Beauty passes through the hands of gypsies, a circus owner, a family of aristocrats and is even ridden into war, with each episode being expertly cast (Mower is in particularly fine form as a mad, bad and dangerous army officer) and produced to the highest cinematic standards--even the exterior lighting is perfect. Absolutely recommended.

The 4:3 DVD is a transfer of exceptionally high quality and includes the cinema trailer, an image gallery of stills and collector-enthusing promotional ephemera (presented in a thumb-saving slideshow format) and, rather incongruously, a trailer for Help! I'm a Fish!--Roger Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Horse riding addict on 6 Oct. 2007
Format: DVD
this DVD is an excellent buy! A very touching improvisation of Anna Sewells novel. You can see the tragedy and the hope. Sad, Sad ending! would recomend for horse fans over the age of 10!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By MR Stephen J Gillard on 24 Mar. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
What can you say. One of the classic pieces of literature about the companionship shared between a group of young friends and the most beautiful horse ever seen in a film. This is a timeless piece of work beautifully constructed and superbly directed this is a heart warming tale that will appeal to young and old alike. It is impossible to see this film and not be moved by the deep relationship formed between the horse and the children. Be warned though this film has the saddest ending I have ever seen. I won't give it away but have a box of tissues on standby. Maybe not a film that will appeal to everyone but a film that will appeal to a large enough majority to warrent the rating I have given it. See this film!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. David Rayner on 17 Jan. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I agree with the comments of Ms J.A.Jacobs about this film bearing little resemblance to its source material, the novel, but it does have a few fine things going for it. Firstly, there is the angelic and totally beautiful Mark Lester, who was 12 years old when he made this film in 1970 (it was released in 1971) and he dominates the film, even though, despite being the main star of it, he's only in the film for the first 26 minutes and is glimpsed again briefly as the end cast plays. He is fascinating to watch and his facial expressions and the look in his eyes when he is watching Black Beauty being born are a joy to behold and are complemented superbly by the music score composed by Lionel Bart and John Cameron.

After Mark leaves the film, it changes atmosphere and tone considerably and seems to be another film entirely, only picking up again towards the end when Black Beauty is rescued from a cruel coal merchant and is reunited with Mark Lester's character, Joe, now a much older young man. The young Mark is then glimpsed briefly as the film ends.

The music score is often very haunting in the first 26 minutes or so and the scenery, set in England, but filmed in Ireland, is beautifully picturesque. Locations in Spain double for the film's other locations, such as India.

As for the DVD, the picture and sound quality are excellent, much better than on the old VHS video release and it's worth every penny of its very reasonable price. Extras include a stills gallery, which include a couple of colour stills from the film's British Front-of-House set (something I am lucky enough to have in my collection) and the original two and a half minute trailer from 1971. Even if you really only want to watch the first half an hour of the film, while Mark Lester is in it, I doubt that you'll be disappointed in this DVD. Go for it!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ms. J. A. Jacobs on 8 Oct. 2006
Format: DVD
After watching this film, I actually had to go back and check the novel to make sure I had read it properly. The DVD cover says, 'the faithful adaptation of Anna Sewell's classic novel'. I'd really like to know which copy they read!

The entire story is different; it's almost as if someone flicked through the book, picked out the character names and then made the rest of it up. Black Beauty has the same name, but Joe Green is now Joe something-or-other and lives on the farm where he is born, Ginger is now a gelding, and the local squire dies, his son takes over, is cruel to Beauty and then perishes a la Reuben Smith in the novel. There is also a peculiar scene where Beauty is ridden by a gypsy in a drunken race.

Having never watched the series, I can't say if it's based on the television programme as opposed to the novel. Needless to say, being a fan of the book I was rather disappointed. The young (at the time) actor from Oliver features as the young boy, and unfortunately the emphasis is on the human characters; Black Beauty is rather a background catalyst for the various social observations. The film also tiptoes around many of the original author's points, for instance the hunt scene, one of the few scenes that actually comes from the book, is modified so that it is the cruel squire mistreating his horse that makes it unpleasant, as opposed to Sewell's opinion that it is a cruel and dangerous practice for all involved.

This version of Black Beauty, if it can be named as such,is perhaps the least faithful adaptation I have ever seen. That is not to say that it is unwatchable; it's a family slice of nostalgia if nothing else. Adults can identify with the various human struggles, as children can with the friendship between Joe and the horse. I just got the feeling that someone had a rather average idea for a horse story and decided to label it as Black Beauty to attract more attention. Disappointing, but only if you are a fan of the book.
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Format: DVD
In itself this is not a bad movie, but the only thing it really shares with the book is Black Beauty himself and the most basic bare bones of the storyline. Like the book its about a beautiful and gentle black horse that gets passed from home to home, but most events which happen in the book are excluded, and completely new situations are thrown in (Beauty as a circus horse anyone?)

Also all the other main horse characters in the book (except Duchess)are either completely (or mostly) ignored. For example, Ginger, probably the most memorable horse in the book besides Beauty himself is only briefly glimpsed twice, and for some reason she is now a he. I know no film can include everything or be 100% faithful all the time, but it felt to me like they didn't even try, and it was disappointing they didn't even get the details right.
Also this adaptation often focuses far more on the lives of the people who own Beauty than on Beauty himself - at times it even feels like the title character is positively shoved into the background to make way for the human stars.

That said this film does have its good points, the friendship between Beauty & Joe shines through fairly well, and despite the changes and omissions, at least some of the message Anna Sewell was trying to get across is still there. Even though I personally think the 1994 remake is a far better adaptation, this movie is still enjoyable if you like horses.

Overall its a fairly good horse movie, just a disappointing adaptation.
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