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They Shoot Horses - Horses in Motion Pictures
Jack Palone

Notwithstanding Rin Can Tin can and The Thin Man series Asta,
the positron emission tomography film achieved its canine
cavalry in the Lassie movies. Its feline apotheosis came in
That Darn Computerized tomography. (1965) and its porcine
pinnacle in Babe (1995). The finest PET film of wholly,
meanwhile, is Ken Loach's Kes (1969), the story of a
working-class English youth whose miserable existence is
briefly illuminated when he heals and trains a wounded falcon.

The movie theater's about enduring pets, though, ar neither
flesh and blood nor animatronic. In the Hanna-Barbera cartoons
executive-produced by Fred Quimby at MGM between 1940 and 1957,
the brutal domestic skirmishes of Turkey and Kraut
achieved a transcendent visual harmony that has never been

No matter however many multiplication Krauthead, atop a model
locomotive, mightiness bear down on Gobbler (squirming on the
railroad track wish a silent moving picture heroine), or many
modern times Tom turkey power cause Boche to shatter care a
vase, at that place is as practically death-defying love as in
that location is hate betwixt computerized tomography and
mouse. Their violent, obsessive codependency, largely
uninterrupted by world and requiring no dialogue, is almost
matched by that of Sylvester and Tweety, and yet this duo's was
an unfair interaction that left the judicious viewer wondering,
Why, oh, why couldn't that ugly lisping computed tomography
just for one time sink his teeth into his sanctimonious
fiddling partner's neck. Like the tragic Wile E. Coyote,
Sylvester is one of Hollywood's great losers, the Sisyphu s of
pusses, doomed forever to roll metaphorical rocks up hills.

Such cinematic indignities less easily visited on
nondomesticated animals, whose wildness invariably evokes a
state of grace that human race--those in King Kong (1933) and
the John Huston-similar elephant hunter played by Clint
Eastwood in White Hunter, Blackness Heart (1990), for
instance--can only destroy. But even humanity rich person
barely challenged the mystical hegemony of the Equus caballus,
the noblest and almost filmable of animals, and the all but
ritualistically solemnifled in movie house. (An exception being
the collapsible nag ridden by Lee Marvin in 1965's Computed
tomography Ballou.) It was horses, of course, that originally
put the movement in move pictures: Model T Fords looked
ungainly and locomotives cumbersome, and both looked slow
beside the horses that carried the outlaws in The Great Train
Robbery (1903) and the Klansmen in The Birth of a Nation

The authenticity of the Western depended on horses more
than any other factor, as, indeed, the settling of the West had
done, though it took B Westerns to shuffle stars of such
reliable four-legged friends as Trigger, Topper, and Champion.
Rudyard Kipling in one case wrote, "4 things greater than
things / Women and Horses and Might and Warfare," a sentiment
partly echoed by Harry Ferdinand Julius Cohn, astute boss of
Columbia University Pictures until 1958, who said that movies
"about" horses and women (except that the ill-mannered used an
unprintable term for the latter). He surely would wealthy
person approved of Sony Pictures (Capital of South Carolina's
current incarnation) opening Kim Basinger and Elisabeth Shue
pictures and Charlie's Angels alongside two cavalry dramas in

Set in Namibia, next month's Running Free, directed by Sergei
Bodrov and produced by Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Bear, 1989),
promises to be a handsome horse cavalry-and-boy saga in the
mold of The Black person Stallion (1979). In the fall comes
Billy Bob Thornton's All the Pretty Horses, which, if it
satisfactorily renders Cormac McCarthy's coming-of-age novel,
should reek nicely of remudas, leather, dung, and cowboy sweat.
It's asking too a lot, perhaps, that it should smell a footling
of Red River (1948), the greatest and nearly adult of operas.

Jack Palone

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