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The Red Pony


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DVD 1-Disc Version
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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.

Special Features

None.

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 (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009NH9W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,011 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Red Pony" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Great music score!
EUGENE R OKEEFE
What a story about family conflicts, trust, and devotion.
iniki
Now it can be heard in all of its glory.
Chip Kaufmann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bomojaz on September 14, 2005
Format: DVD
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 26 people found the following review helpful By grrlpup on August 22, 2005
Format: DVD
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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 2002
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cuthbert J. Twiddle on July 22, 2005
Format: DVD
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 By Staci L. Wilson on January 4, 2005
Format: DVD
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Judy K on April 27, 2006
Format: DVD
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 Amazon.com 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chip Kaufmann on October 22, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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 there) and Serials (THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL, THE LONE RANGER). The company was founded in 1935 and produced and released films until 1959. Their trademark logo of a giant eagle perched atop a craggy mountain peak is still in use today. After World War II Republic began to produce the occasional "prestige" picture which had a bigger budget and name stars and directors. John Ford did THE QUIET MAN (1952) there, Orson Welles did a highly stylized version of MACBETH (1948), Fritz Lang made the creepy and disturbing HOUSE BY THE RIVER (1951), and Lewis Milestone (ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT) made this film in 1949. It was one of the few color movies to come from Republic (THE QUIET MAN is another). I see that here and on imdb that a number of people point out that it isn't faithful to John Steinbeck's book. That is true but as Steinbeck himself wrote the screenplay, then at least he had a hand in the finished product and he didn't complain about it.

For years THE RED PONY has only been available in washed out, substandard prints first on VHS and then later on low budget DVD. This new version from Olive Films goes back to the best source material and looks and sounds gorgeous. The sound is equally important for the film's score was written by Aaron Copland. Now it can be heard in all of its glory. If you know the orchestral suite than you'll recognize it immediately throughout the film. The casting is perfect with Myrna Loy wonderfully understating the role of the mother who is estranged from her husband.
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