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.