HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
mother!
God's Own Country
Unseen, The
Tonight She Comes
Chasing the Dragon
Into the Forest
Limehouse Golem, The
Frankenstein '80
Good Time
Bucket of Blood, A
Detroit
Hide and Seek
What Happened to Monday
River Wild, The
Veteran
Slumber Party '57
Juliette, or Key of Dreams
Summertime Killer
Sweet Virginia
Ben & Arthur
Your Name
Red Hot Shot, The
New World
Trick Baby
Weapons of Death
Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, The
Kills on Wheels
Strait-Jacket
This Man is Dangerous
Burning Paradise
   
 
Newest Articles
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agn├Ęs: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
   
 
  My Brother Talks to Horses Gabbin' with NagsBuy this film here.
Year: 1947
Director: Fred Zinneman
Stars: Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins, Peter Lawford, Beverly Tyler, Edward Arnold, Charles Ruggles, Spring Byington, O.Z. Whitehead, Paul Langton, Ernest Whitman, Irving Bacon, Lillian Yarbo, Howard Freeman, Harry Hayden
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Louie Penrose (Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins) is a strange little boy, growing up in turn-of-the-century, Baltimore, USA. Not only do dogs follow wherever Louie goes but he also believes he can talk to horses. Louie's older brother John (Peter Lawford) indulges his seemingly overactive imagination, partly because he much bigger concerns. Chiefly finding someone wealthy and willing to invest in his newfangled contraption: the radio so he can earn enough to marry his sweetheart Martha (Beverly Tyler). One day at the racetrack with the eccentric Mrs. Penrose (Spring Byington), Louie gets to talking with the race-horses and unexpectedly picks the winner. His abilities do not go unnoticed by wealthy blue blood and avid gambler Richard Pennington Roeder (Charles Ruggles) who, like John, wonders whether they could be put to lucrative use.

Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins stole a few scenes opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the similarly horse-themed National Velvet (1944) so MGM figured why not give him another day at the races with My Brother Talks to Horses. Based on a novel by Morton Thompson, the story appears to be an allegory about growing up and how love transcends language barriers, a message somewhat lost in translation to the screen and consequently rather shaky. It remains a modestly charming family film from Fred Zinnemann, back when he was a contract director at MGM rather than the celebrated auteur behind High Noon (1952) and From Here to Eternity (1953). Zinnemann, who would go on to direct Ivan Landl to one of the finest child performances of all time opposite Montgomery Clift in The Search (1948), here emboldens Jenkins to deliver a naturalistic turn imbued with pathos and sensitivity. Louie Penrose is a likable yet lonely kid who finds comfort in his friendship with animals and Jenkins sells us on the sincerity of his love for horses. Director and star re-teamed the same year for Little Mister Jim (1947). In a similar vein Peter Lawford, an actor of limited range, is at his most endearing here as the earnest hero who makes everyone swoon.

Had the film been made today a studio would probably insist on having the horses voiced by some wisecracking comedians. Wisely Zinnemann avoids such corny ideas and instead portrays Louie's power as ambiguously telepathic. All we hear when he talks to horses is the sound of a spooky Theramin. It is not quite The Sixth Sense (1999) with horses (wherein one imagines the big twist would be Louie's family were horses all along?) but Zinnemann's creative staging lends charm to an otherwise lightweight confection. A meandering story takes its own cool time realizing the premise. For the most part it is less interested in horsey antics than the humourous goings on at the eccentric Penrose household. There Ma Penrose insists her family join her in a vigorous exercise routine at the dinner table. Meanwhile upstairs lodger Mr. Puddy (O.Z. Whitehead) labours to invent an edible beer bottle. Its wry yet affectionate portrayal of genteel turn-of-the-century life has much in common with other endearing nostalgia trips from the period like Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Life with Father (1947) and the original Cheaper By the Dozen (1950).

Unlike National Velvet the racing segments - filmed at The Preakness race held annually at the Churchill Downs track in Louisville, Kentucky - centre on the spectators not jockeys. Which somewhat distances viewers from the action. While a running gag about the characters' skepticism about health foods and new age philosophies dates the film somewhat the third act ruminates on life, death and spirituality. Hearteningly the Penrose family recognize the importance of childhood imagination when it comes to getting to grip with the big questions. Still the film is evidently more invested in Lawford's wooing of an undeniably radiant Beverly Tyler as Martha than Butch's relationship with horses.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 160 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Shrimpton
Lee Lopez
Jennifer Thomas
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: