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The Red Pony (1949)

Myrna Loy , Robert Mitchum , Lewis Milestone  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Blu-ray 1-Disc Version $18.65  
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Product Details

  • Actors: Myrna Loy, Robert Mitchum, Louis Calhern, Shepperd Strudwick, Peter Miles
  • Directors: Lewis Milestone
  • Writers: John Steinbeck
  • Producers: Lewis Milestone, Charles K. Feldman
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Republic Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2003
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009NH9W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,010 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Red Pony" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Robert Mitchum, Myrna Loy. John Steinbeck's heartwarming tale of a ranch hand who helps a young boy raise his beloved horse, overcoming his tumultuous family life. 1949/color/91 min/NR/fullscreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and touching September 14, 2005
By Bomojaz
Excellent screen version of John Steinbeck's short novel, with effective and renowned Aaron Copeland score to match. It's more than just a story about a boy and his love for his pony that gets sick and dies; it's about life and fitting in, about who we are and how we choose to be accepted. Everyone does a fine job on the screen. Best perhaps is Louis Calhern as Grandpa, who once led a wagon train across the plains. Robert Mitchum is the laconic ranch hand Billy Buck. Definitely worth a watch.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unhappy family working out its issues through horses August 22, 2005
By grrlpup
I was told that this movie, unlike Steinbeck's original story, had a happy ending. Well... yes and no. At the very end of the film, everybody's laughing. (A little manaically, in my opinion.) But the movie is still about an unhappy family, and it's full of tense, strained scenes at the breakfast table. Nor does "happy ending" mean that we escape the bad things that happen in the book.

There were some nice wildlife and scenery shots of Steinbeck country, but I could have used more.

The children in the film, except for the main character, are horrible yelling little bullies. I took positive delight in their oppression by the very recognizable Wicked Witch of the West as their schoolteacher.

Robert Mitchum's character, who at first is presented as the hero who knows everything there is to know about horses, is gradually revealed as someone who promises more than he can deliver. The uncovering of his flaws and instability is very well done. In general, the movie avoids too much cliche (except in the hokey daydream sequences), and examines its own stereotypes (the old settler, the perfect horse trainer, the incompetent city slicker) in interesting ways.

The parents and grandfather are slightly strange characters, who give the little boy so many conflicting and unspoken commands that I felt very sorry for him trying to grow up in such a crazy environment. Yet it's all under the surface of a wholesome and respectable ranch life. Myrna Loy is cold and gives orders to everyone; she'd be right at home with a riding crop in her hand. She's in the middle between her husband and her father, who have little patience for one another. Mealtime scenes are authentically tense, if not exactly fun to watch.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor transfer October 12, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Even though the box claims a digital transfer, the source elements must be poor. Sections of the film are too dark, and it is noisy and grainy throughout. This film needs a more serious restoration than provided here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 Years Ago I saw The Red Pony in Memphis April 27, 2006
By Judy K
I remember like yesterday sitting in the "picture show" with my father dressed in his Sunday Suit and me with my pretty dress on watching The Red Pony. I must have been about 8 to 10 years old and today I am 65 years of age and I am on about to order the DVD so that I can sit in front of our 62" plasma with my grandchildren and enjoy "once again" the Red Pony as I pass "them" the popcorn in a brown paper bag. Such Memories...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is a fine family film with a first rate cast, based on Steinbeck's short stories of course. The score by Aaron Copland is just great, as is the photography by Tony Gaudio. It's one of the very few times Republic Pictures used Technicolor instead of their inferior two color Trucolor system. Even though the packaging proclaims "Digitally Mastered from the Original Film Negative", it's just so-so quality wise, about equal to the earlier Laserdisc release. Technicolor can and should look much better than this! The packaging also indicates the original theatrical trailer is included (as it was on the Laserdisc) but I couldn't find it on the DVD. Apparently Artisan just doesn't care much about their classic film library, unless John Wayne is involved, and even there some of the end product is mediocre (such as "The Quiet Man"). Don't hold your breath waiting for a restoration or special edition from these clowns. It's a very good film and the price is right. Buy it!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Red pony with white blaze makes boy blue... January 4, 2005
In an effort to connect with his son, Fred Tiflin (Louis Calhern) buys him a pony: A fantastic cinnamon red colored pony with a white blaze and a flowing creamy mane and tail. Fred is dismayed when young Tom (Peter Miles) turns to the ranch-hand (Robert Mitchum) instead of him for help in training the unbroken gelding and gets even more fed up when the pony, named Gabilan, becomes Tom's singular obsession. Drama and tragedy take center stage, but there is plenty of pony for fans of the Welsh breed. This movie was remade for TV in 1978, but somebody got the definition of "pony" confused with "foal" and a Thoroughbred colt was cast as Gabilan. Based on a short story called The Promise in a collection entitled The Red Pony by John Steinbeck.

Staci Layne Wilson
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The most truly American of classical composers, Aaron Copland's stirring music score is what still resonates most in this almost forgotten 1949 film, even though it boasts an impressive pedigree - a screenplay by John Steinbeck based on his own collection of short stories, direction from film veteran Lewis Milestone (All Quiet on the Western Front, Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men), and A-list stars in Robert Mitchum and Myrna Loy. It was the most expensive picture ever made at Republic Studios, a poverty-row operation that was kept afloat thanks to a successful string of John Wayne westerns. On the surface, the movie seems like kid-friendly fare, but it also presents some interesting psychological subtext on the family unit and a surprisingly graphic scene that triggers the story's climax.

The story focuses on a young boy named Tom Tiflin, who lives with his parents on a ranch in the Salinas Valley. His no-nonsense mother Alice was raised in the area, but his emotionally indifferent father Fred comes from San Jose and has never felt at home despite spending years on the ranch. On a long-term visit to the ranch, Alice's father is an old coot who repeats the same stories about the old West much to the consternation of Fred. Moreover, Fred's constantly conflicted state has pushed Tom closer to devoted ranch hand Billy Buck. Family tensions give way to a red pony, Fred's present to Tom. Naturally, the boy focuses his full attention on the pony, even cutting class to take care of it after it ambled outside during a heavy rainstorm.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Add this one to your collection
Really good original movie
Published 2 months ago by ORRNBobby
4.0 out of 5 stars Video: The Red Pony
Wonderful story.
Published 2 months ago by DONNA M. LEE
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book. Great movie. Great music score!
Published 3 months ago by EUGENE R OKEEFE
5.0 out of 5 stars Pony Pleasure
This is when they knew how to make movies with lots of feeling, good acting, and no special effects. What a story about family conflicts, trust, and devotion.
Published 7 months ago by iniki
4.0 out of 5 stars An American Classic Beautifully Rendered
"The Red Pony" was the second of John Steinbeck's novels to be adapted for the Silver Screen. Read more
Published 8 months ago by J S Lasher
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable for ALL!!!!!
A very enjoyable film (if not well remembered today) about growing up and dealing with things not as you want them to be but as they are. Copeland's score is stellar. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Prof. Cleaver
5.0 out of 5 stars A great movie.
It is the kind of movie you just want to watch and enjoy. The music is great from a great musician, Arron Copland.
Published 11 months ago by Larry E. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally A Gorgeous Print Of This 1949 Classic!
Republic Pictures was at the top of the heap down on Poverty Row. They were the "A" studio of "B" pictures who specialized in Westerns (John Wayne & Gene Autry got their start... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Chip Kaufmann
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully Restored
One of the true classic which I remember from my childhood. Terrific acting and it looks beautiful in Technicolor. See it!
Published 16 months ago by L. Hebert
4.0 out of 5 stars Mitchum Shines!
Wonderful! A simple, yet beautiful, interpretation of Steinbeck's classic with a pitch-perfect performance by Robert Mitchum. Read more
Published 17 months ago by GHD
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