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Black Beauty 1994

In this touching adaptation of the classic children's novel, the tale is told from the horse's point of view. Black Beauty tells us the details of his birth, his colt-hood and his perceptions of humans as he's had many owners, some cruel and others kind. A film for all the family.

Starring:
Docs Keepin Time, Alan Cumming
Runtime:
1 hour, 24 minutes

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 25 April 2005
Format: DVD
A nicely shot film where the horses are undoubtedly the stars even with the presence of the likes of Sean Bean and David Thewlis. Alan Cumming's narration might irritate adults but I couldn't think of anyone who'd do better but it does pigeonhole it as a kids film. From my very vague memories of the book when I was young, I think it was probably reasonably true to the feel of the book. An enjoyable couple of hours and the horses and English countryside look gorgeous.
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Format: VHS Tape
A lovely film and a must for horse lovers, the film is so faithfull to the book, and so enchanting. I'v seen it about 6 times and every time I'v seen it I'v sobbed, its so real. Its one of the best films ever!
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Format: DVD
My six-year old daughter, who loves horses, was devastated by this film, sobbing her heart out from the first time Beauty is injured right to the end (and for some time after). The film was way too violent for her, but she needed to see the end to make sure Beauty was alright. I would say it is not a kids' film - and of course the novel was not intended for children.
For adults, the images are beautiful and it is moving and gripping throughout, but just be careful who watches...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First of all, the film itself.

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...
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Format: DVD
Anna Sewell's novel was originally intended to increase awareness of the appalling working conditions of horses and the indignities forced upon them by the demands of 'fashion' and insensitive owners (the book was widely distributed by animal rights campaigners), so it is perhaps little surprise that the first faithful film version proved a box-office disaster in the US. Despite reuniting many of those responsible for The Secret Garden [DVD] [1993] in the hope of repeating its surprise success, it lacks the feelgood factor of either that or a Free Willy, being bittersweet at best, after an unsteady first half-hour assuming a steadily darker hue as it becomes harsher and more genuinely affecting.

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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie perfectly captures the essence of the book and is probably the most faithful adaptation so far.

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).
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