“White Mane” (Crin-Blanc) now out on DVD

3 05 2008

White Mane (Crin-Blanc)

Has anyone seen this 1953 flick? It’s a 40-minute, b&w film directed by Albert Lamorisse. From IMDB:

In the Camargue, France, ranchers go after wild horses led by a leader, “White Mane,” which escapes capture time after time. A small boy who witnesses the horse’s furious fight for its freedom makes friends with the horse after the trackers supposedly give him up to whomever can capture him. They change their minds when they see the boy has tamed him and take off after the horse again, with the boy on his back. Both boy and horse, fed up with the continual fight for freedom and peace, and the duplicity of men, head out to sea as the men plead with the boy to turn back. (Winner of the Cannes Grand Prize in category in 1953.)

It’s now out on DVD; KiddieMatinee.com has another short review, and more images like the one below.

Cage match!

Related posts:

Lorenzo and his Camargue horses

The Ballad of the Irish Horse

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The Palio di Siena

17 08 2007

The Palio

This year’s running of the Palio horse race in Siena, Italy left viewers stirred but not shaken (sorry, I had to) as film crews captured the event for the next Bond movie:

[T]o the relief of the Siena authorities, the huge crowd and – presumably – the film producers, all horses and jockeys survived the dangerous bareback race.

Several jockeys were unseated as horses crashed into the wall at the notoriously tight San Martino bend, falling beneath the pounding hooves of their rivals. Miraculously none was hurt.

Instead, with Daniel Craig watching from a window high above the Campo, the square where the Palio is run on packed sand, Siena put on a classic show of colourful pageantry and excitement to a background of medieval drums and flags. Link

From Wikipedia: “The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as the Palio), the most famous palio in Italy, is a horse race held twice each year on July 2 and August 16 in Siena, in which the horse and rider represent one of the seventeen Contrade, or city wards. A magnificent pageant precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world.” Is this the world’s longest-running horse race?

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Disney being sued over Ruffian film

8 06 2007


Image source

The LA Times reports that Disney’s upcoming movie about the great filly Ruffian have been marred by controversy, as a jockey and trainer claim they were not consulted about the details of her life:

The complaint alleges violations of trademarks held by Jacinto Vasquez, Ruffian’s jockey, and trainer Frank Whiteley. The movie, set for release Saturday, is falsely billed as a true story, according to the complaint. Ruffian’s caretakers also claim the movie purports to rely on their insider experience and intimate knowledge when they had nothing to do with the production.

“Defendants seek to give credibility to the film as a docudrama by falsely claiming actual knowledge of the details of what happened to Ruffian in her last race that led to her death,” the suit said. “The content can only be a fictionalized account because none of the still-living members of the Ruffian inner circle agreed to participate and/or cooperate in the production.”

The suit seeks an order to halt broadcast of the film and unspecified damages from Disney.

I just hope it isn’t a maudlin piece of crap like Seabiscuit was–am I the only one who absolutely hated that movie? (Hat tip to Raincoaster, btw)

Related posts:

Why we care…or not

Five memorable mares

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Five famous black horses

29 03 2007

1. The Black Stallion

Cass Ole as the Black Stallion (from Wiki)

The Black Stallion needs no introduction. The fiery hero of Walter Farley’s beloved books, he was portrayed by the Arab stallion Cass Ole in the movies. Generations of horse fanatics have devoured the stories and passed them on to their own children. There’s a Black Stallion blog, and be sure to check out The Black Stallion Literacy Project.

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Worst. Special. Effects. EVER

29 03 2007

This slice of Bollywood has been doing the rounds. Don’t try it at home, kids!

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Horses in popular culture, and things which tick me off

18 03 2007

Pounding hoofs, originally uploaded by _dixie.

Herewith, some clichés I could really do without…

1. Whenever a galloping horse is shown in a movie, the camera will linger awhile on the pounding hooves. Why is that?

2. Horses in movies also whinny all the time for no reason. There’s a Canadian Historica Minute in which a midwife and girl are racing through the snow in a sleigh to reach the girl’s mother, who is in labour. Suddenly, there’s a downed tree across the trail! The horse rears and whinnies! First of all, the horse would have seen the tree from a ways away and slowed itself down in time; secondly, there is no earthly reason for the horse to whinny about it.

3. Cartoon horses with giant schnozzes and feet. I just hate that.

Bad art! BAD ART!

4. I’m tired of the horse whisperer cliché. Good horsemanship was good horsemanship long before we started getting all evangelical about it.

Those are a few of mine…what might yours be?

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Digital equine actors

22 02 2007

Kingdom of Heaven

The abuse and deaths of animals in movies is nothing new, sad to say; in old movies, horses were often injured or killed through the use of tripwires. In modern flicks, horses are trained to fall safely, which is obvious when you know what to look for: the horse will pull its nose in towards its shoulder before keeling over. The American Humane Association has been monitoring animal welfare on sets since 1940. Still, accidents do happen; a horse was killed on the set of Flicka while another died rather bizarrely during filming in India.

To combat these tragedies, equine biomechanicist Dr. Sian E.M. Lawson is now working with directors to create realistic digital horses in movies such as Kingdom of Heaven (above), Alexander and King Arthur using digital capture methods; similar technology was used to create Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy:

Motion capture allows movements to be filmed in controlled safe environments and to be linked together creating a realistic sequence that the horse didn’t actually perform. However it is not possible to provide the movement for sequences such as a horse falling or rearing unless the equine actor actually performs this. To solve this dilemma I have begun to create a very complicated biomechanical tool called the Digital Equine. This will allow horses and their movements to be completely computer simulated, replacing the role of horse motion capture in the film industry and even removing the need for real horses altogether. […] To enable the highest quality of motion to be simulated Equine Mechanics’ Digital Equine model of the horse is pain-stakingly biomechanically correct including bone shapes, joints, tendons, muscles, ligaments, mass and inertial properties. It provides real motion as it effectively uses a virtual horse musculo-skeletal system. It can then be adjusted for breed and type and riders can then be added or not at the animators whim. (More)

Dr. Lawson has her own website with some great info on equine biomechanics.

Win Flicka on DVD

5 02 2007

Enter at MovieWeb and you could win a copy of Flicka on DVD. No purchase necessary; not sure if it’s USA only.

A Hollywood ending for Yakamas’ wild horses?

19 10 2006

After reading about overpopulation issues, Janet Wainwright, with 18-year-old Cotton, persuaded the tribe to open its herd for adoption using “Flicka” to promote the program.

At last, a movie promotion tie-in which doesn’t involve acres of Burger King tat…Janet Wainwright, a Seattle-based publicist for 20th Century Fox, has persuaded the Yakama Nation (in the state of Washington) to allow surplus horses from their wild bands to be adopted by non-First Nations people for the first time. The tribe joined forces with 20th Century Fox to promote the film “Flicka“, about a teenager who adopts and bonds with a wild mustang. The Yakama Nation manages and protects about five thousand wild horses on its reservation in central Washington, but the overpopulated herd is disrupting the ecosystem, stamping out medicinal plants and food for deer and other animals. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a great article about the promotion here.
Yakama horses

The Yakama Nation manages more than 5,000 wild horses.

Flicka to hit big screens (again)

12 09 2006

Hunter-Jumper News has a long feature on Flicka, the upcoming remake of the classic 1943 movie. Shot in California and New Zealand, the movie stars Alison Lohman, Tim McGraw and Maria Bello, and is set to open in October. Sadly, it has already generated some controversy over the deaths of two horses on set.

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