The Red Pony (1949 film)

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The Red Pony
Poster of The Red Pony.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lewis Milestone
Produced by Lewis Milestone
Screenplay by John Steinbeck
Story by John Steinbeck
Starring Myrna Loy
Robert Mitchum
Louis Calhern
Shepperd Strudwick
Peter Miles
Music by Aaron Copland
Cinematography Tony Gaudio
Edited by Harry Keller
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Release date(s)
  • March 28, 1949 (1949-03-28) (United States)
Running time 88 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Red Pony is a 1949 Western drama film based on one of John Steinbeck's short stories published in the 1930s under the title The Red Pony. Steinbeck also wrote the screenplay for this film.[1]

Plot[edit]

A young boy, Tom Tiflin (Peter Miles), is given a small pony by his father (Shepperd Strudwick). Tom asks the stable helper, Billy Buck (Robert Mitchum), to help him raise and train it so that it can be ridden. During a rain storm the pony gets out of the stable and having been soaked becomes fevered. Despite Buck's best efforts to nurse the pony it develops strangles and requires a tracheotomy. Shortly after the procedure, the pony escapes from the farm. Tom follows the pony's hoof prints to a gully where it has died and is being eaten by vultures. He blames Buck for not saving its life. Buck, feeling remorse, prepares to kill his own pregnant mare in order to give Tom a colt, believing the unborn may not have turned. Tom grows angry at Buck's willingness to sacrifice a horse and steals his knife. When they return to the stable the foal has been born naturally, both mother and colt survive.

Cast[edit]

Background[edit]

It is notable today because of the original score composed by Aaron Copland, which he also arranged and published as a suite The Red Pony. Copland himself conducted London's New Philharmonia Orchestra in a recording of the music for Columbia Records, which was later reissued on CD by Sony Records.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Film critic Bosley Crowther gave the film a mixed review, writing, "But, unfortunately, the story does ramble, and its several interlaced strands are often permitted to dangle or get lost in the leisurely account. An extraneous family situation involving the youngster's Ma and Pa, wherein the father has trouble with his ego, likewise confuses the plot. In directing the picture, Mr. Milestone has adopted a frankly casual style which further invests the proceedings with a languid quality."[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Red Pony at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, "Red Pony, Based on Steinbeck Novel, New Bill at Mayfair -- Mitchum, Loy in Cast", March 9, 1949. Accessed: June 22, 2013.

External links[edit]