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While traveling with his father, young Alec becomes fascinated by a mysterious Arabian stallion that is brought on board and stabled in the ship he is sailing on. When it tragically sinks both he and the horse survive only to be stranded on a deserted island. He befriends it, so when finally rescued both return to his home where they soon meet Henry Dailey, a once successful trainer. Together they begin training the horse to race against the fastest ones in the world.
Beautifully cinematic. Poetic and propulsive. Acted with nuance and tenderness instead of ego (and that includes a surprisingly quiet performance by Mickey Rooney). Never condescends to its viewers, young or old. Edited so perfectly, it is somehow both efficient and contemplative. Devoid of laborious exposition. Packed with iconic images. With the exception of one slightly annoying characterization*, it exists almost outside of time, without aspects that date when it was made. Alec, played with extraordinary restraint by Kelly Reno, remains one of the most naturalistic, convincing young boys I've seen in a movie; it's a performance that came to mind watching the boys in The Tree of Life (which I mean as a high compliment).
This was one of the…
The Black Stallion is a mystical jewel of a film. Despite some instances of disconnected acting and craftsmanship amidst chaos that fundamentally fray around the edges, The Black Stallion offers a visually propelled abundance of mythic cinematic catharsis and disarming naivety set to spellbind young and old. It stands up to reputation as a mercurial slice of arty cinema for children, miraculously put together on a pittance budget, which boldly pursues dialogue-light visual diction, defies logic, praises classicism and touches upon greatness.
The Black Stallion pulls off the trick of making you feel young again, intoxicated by the vast, rich mysteries contained in the world around you. The most serene and unforgettable portion of the film is undoubtedly the marooned…
For the first hour Carroll Ballard's "The Black Stallion" is a deeply felt and poetic fairytale of a shipwrecked boy befriending a wild horse on a desert island, all beautifully filmed by Caleb Deschanel. Once the boy and horse make it make back to the United States, the film begins a long formulaic march to the predicable finale. This film would be a masterpiece if all the horse racing bullshit had been removed and ended 60 minutes in.
Have you ever seen a movie and wished that certain scenes would never end? That's how i felt whilst seeing the first half of this movie which is a perfect marriage of sound and cinematography. I had the same experience when i saw the first segment of Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train.Not a bad movie per se since the second half is the usual triumph against all odds which we all have seen countless times. I loved the relationship between man and animal.How can you not feel thrilled at the climax?
@Aaron King watched this a few months ago, and when he did, I added it to my mental watchlist. The Criterion Blu went on sale, so I popped on it, and I am very glad I did. This is a pretty unique film, and it's like having a cinematic 6 course meal. The first half might as well be called Film Ape's Sweet Spots: The Motion Picture and the second half ain't half bad either.
This movie, man...
I remember my grandmother showing it to me when I was a kid. I would watch it again and again, and I just loved the sounds and sights of it... Like most movies when I was a kid, I paid little attention to the story, the dialogue and all that stuff, and just was interested in how entertaining the sights and sounds could be to me. and this entertained excellently. For some reason, when I think back to it, the first thing I think of are those little sugar cubes that the boy gives to the horse near the beginning. don't know why exactly. This was my first time seeing since I was a child, this time…
Even better than I remember!
I genuinely would have just watched an hour and a half of the horse and Alec on the island.
A wonderfully told story that is both mythical and touching. The score and cinematography are just beautiful.
They clearly cut all the dialogue that they didn't feel was necessary, and it makes it a more visual and visceral experience. Maybe a mild smidge more explanation would have been more to my liking, but that's not what this was about.
Spectacular first half, but I could not stand the post-island part.
I was a lot more into the island portion of the film than the racing part, but it was still a more than solid "boy and his dog" tale.
Checked out a little during the second half but I don't really blame the film for that. Another of those films I wish I had seen as a kid.
The first thing people remember about The Black Stallion is how beautiful it is. Carroll Ballard and cinematographer Caleb Deschanel produce a constant stream of images stunning in their beauty - whether The Black is running across a beach or stomping about a small yard, the frame is saturated with color and beautifully lit. Some are indelibly seared in my mind, such as Alec (Kelly Reno) and The Black on the beach with the sun setting behind them or The Black running through a field in front of a factory.
But the other thing that struck me about The Black Stallion is the sound. Or rather, the lack thereof. This is a quiet movie. There isn't much dialog - indeed…
The first half is genuinely great, but then the second half happens and completely undermines everything that's come before, utterly tone-deaf.
UPDATED: September 11, 2016
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…