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Black Beauty [DVD] 
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Directed by Caroline Thompson (the writer of 'Edward Scissorhands', 'The Secret Garden' and 'The Addams Family'), this is another reworking of the Anna Sewell classic about a horse which has been badly treated. Set during the late 19th Century, where poverty was high in London's East End, the tale follows the ups and downs of the life of the horse Black Beauty.
Don't waste this one on your children: buy it for yourself. A spectacular adaptation of the Anna Sewell novel, this is faithful to the source material but creates a life of its own on the screen. Told from the point of view of the horse, it recalls a time and a place that could be both beautiful and cruel. Black Beauty faced both hardship and kindness as he passed through the hands of many owners throughout his life. Some are generous, but the agonies endured by the title character may be too harsh for small children. Unfortunately, director Caroline Thompson did not resurrect her magical touch a few years later with another animal tale, Buddy. --Rochelle O'Gorman, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
For adults, the images are beautiful and it is moving and gripping throughout, but just be careful who watches...
I've seen several Black Beauty films over the years (and the television series). I am pleased to say that it's possibly one of the best adaptations I have seen. Beautifully staged, it will not dissapoint any horse mad daughters (or sons) in your household. As an equine neutral adult, I can appreciate the care taken in the production of this film, and as a previous reviewer commented, it indroduces fairly adult themes to younger viewers (in a gentle way), which is no bad thing.
And onto M.G.Hatfield - an earlier reviewer of this film. What a star!! If you like reviews devoid of punctuation and any clear train of thought, then have a look at other films this person has reviewed. A copy of 'Eats Shoots & Leaves' should be sent to this guy/women without delay.
I'm still laughing...
There are problems, mostly to do with the script and Caroline Thompson's direction, both of which seem to lack confidence and ambition in the early stages (production values, it has to be said, are top-notch throughout). That the film is narrated by the horse (and voiced by Alan Cumming) is not so much of a problem as the fact that at times it just won't shut up - by comparison, Mr Ed is a Trappist. Unfortunately, take away the narration and the visuals in the first half of the film would not be sufficient to tell the story alone. Worse, the film is shot too impartially, only rarely assuming the horse's point of view (although a brief dream sequence is beautifully realised) and Thompson initially has difficulty integrating the animals and the humans - top-billed Sean Bean's walk-on part consists entirely of a handful of uninspired and poorly staged reaction shots. Indeed, only Jim Carter and David Thewlis stand out in the familiar cast as the most sympathetic of Beauty's handlers.Read more ›
Beautiful visuals, good pacing, and a the heartfelt story of a beautiful black horse who is passed through circumstance and choice from home to home, and experiences both the best and worst of human nature.
Personally I love this film and the message it conveys, however, although Black Beauty is often seen as a story for children the author originally intended for it to be read by adults as a plea for people be more compassionate and thoughtful in how they treated their horses, and it did lead to a reform of animal welfare laws at the time including as mentioned in other reviews the abolishment of the bearing rein.
As such this is a touching and thought provoking film, but due to its nature in addressing the issues of the cruelty and neglect some horses suffer at the hands of uncaring owners, it is also very sad and harrowing in some parts and younger or more sensitive children may be upset by it. Even I found it sad in places, but I agree with the reviewer Anne, the messages of compassion and consideration of others, human or animal, are important ones, and this film conveys them very well. Also the film really isn't as "depressing" as a lot of people are making out..... there is actually a good deal of gentle humour mixed in to balance out the sad.
I'd personally recommend this film highly for any fan of the book, adult or not, but for younger children perhaps rent the film and watch it alone first, that way you can see and judge for yourself before showing the film to them (and easily return it if you feel its not suitable).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was blown away with the story, photography, sound and acting by the horses.
Told as a love story, from the horses perspective! Read more
I myself grew up with the story of Black Beauty and my son taking after me and loving animals we sat down together to watch this. Read morePublished 6 months ago by DebbieP
Black beauty is a very sad film for anyone who loves horses. I myself work with them, love the film, but it always makes me cry. Read morePublished 7 months ago by suzanne k cruickshank