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Black Beauty [Blu-ray]

Mark Lester , Walter Slezak , James Hill    Parental Guidance   Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: £10.76 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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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 (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008PV2WCA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,531 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


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.


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
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 6 Oct 2007
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mark Lester shines in this one 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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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Black Beauty...and the similarities end there! 8 Oct 2006
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We like this version very much 2 Jan 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I thank you for another good product at very reasonable price, keep up the good work.
We are very pleased with your service and good quality dvd's.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch from behind a cushion 13 Dec 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
My daughter loves this film - but anything with cruelty to horses and it sends me to a dark place. Typical 1970's film. Oliver Reed is menacing as usual. Has a happy ending... but only just. Watch it at your peril.
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By gel
good copy happy with purchase lovely film ideal for kids and a story that they will remember arrived on time packed well
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great for horse loving children 28 May 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
She loved it and even shared it with her younger sister, parents enjoyed the quiet interlude from both children [aged 5 & 7]
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars all excellent. Thanks Amazon
Quite an old version but still lovely to watch. Children seem to want different formats these days, but I cried all through it and will watch again. Price, quality, service... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Beverley Arnold
5.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD.
Arrived promptly as described. Great DVD.
Published 2 months ago by Cora Lofthouse
4.0 out of 5 stars Oldie but goodie
I ordered this for my horse-crazy 7 year old. She loved it. I grew up on this version and loved the book. I know there is a newer version but
I have never seen it. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Elizabeth Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars Birthday Present
The dvd arrived on time and was just what was wanted for the birhday present. The packaging was correct and there are no complaints
Published 19 months ago by Judy Proctor
5.0 out of 5 stars BLACK BEAUTY
Published on 16 July 2011 by James Toner
3.0 out of 5 stars nice enough movie, but poor adaptation......
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. Read more
Published on 7 Mar 2011 by Rain-Dancer
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful family classic
Bought this as a bit of a chilhood remenis for me and thought my children would enjoy it (age 5 and 7). We sat in silence and all loved it, happy parts, sad parts. Read more
Published on 17 Jan 2011 by claire
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