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The Red Pony

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Year: 1949
Studio: Republic Pictures
Director: Lewis Milestone
Cast (in credits order):
Myrna Loy ... Alice Tiflin
Robert Mitchum ... Billy Buck
Louis Calhern ... Grandfather
Sheppard Strudwick ... Fred Tiflin
Peter Miles ... Tom Tiflin
Margaret Hamilton ... Teacher
Beau Bridges ... Beau

Plot synopsis: In 1930s California, a sensitive young boy dotes on his red pony, partly to escape the tension between his mother and father. Understanding ranch hand Billy Buck serves as a father figure to the lonely boy, especially when his pony becomes sick.

Verdict: If you've ever read John Steinbeck's book -- or seen any classic movies about animals geared toward kids -- you know you'd better have the Kleenex handy. The film is a bit on the long side, but Mitchum's sensitive portrayal of the idealized Billy Buck, and his natural ease with children, make this one worthwhile.

What the Critics Said: "Mitchum once again demonstrates his flair for apt characterization ... " — Variety
With the exception of Robert Mitchum, who plays the understanding Billy Buck with his customary ease and persuasion, the other actors are handicapped by adult concerns." — Newsweek
"Never quite escapes being maudlin." — The New Republic

Behind the Scenes: Mitchum's character, Billy Buck, was not in the book, but Steinbeck, who wrote the screenplay, obviously felt he was needed. The music score is by Aaron Copland.

If You Liked This Movie, You Might Also Like: The Yearling with Gregory Peck, The Black Stallion, Black Beauty