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The Red Pony

4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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(Jul 22, 2003)
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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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009NH9W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,838 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Red Pony" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
"The Red Pony" was the second of John Steinbeck's novels to be adapted for the Silver Screen. Although Republic Pictures was usually known for producing 'second-string' films, this was certainly not the case with the "The Red Pony." A stellar cast including Myrna Loy, Robert Mitchum, Louis Calhern, Margaret Hamilton, among others. The technical credits include a superlative music score by the great American-born composer, Aaron Copland.
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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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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
A beautiful "period piece". The movie's score was the real key to acceptable pleasure. It was worth
the investment for the music alone. Had I been 10 year old, the picture would have impressed me
even more.
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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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. Myrna Loy and Mitchum shine. Look for a young Beau Bridges also.
Viewed this on TCM several years ago and am happy to find that the DVD pic quality far surpasses what I viewed then.
Seems as if this was restored and rightfully so. Soemthing to view with the whole family....check it out!!!!!
Class Dismissed!!!!!!!
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