Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Scott Glenn, Laura Hillenbrand, Farrell Jones, Norah Christianson, Red Pollard
Director: Stephen Ives
Genres: Television, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
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Terrific story, beautifully made
Candace Scott | Lake Arrowhead, CA, USA | 08/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am not a horse racing fan and know next to nothing about the sport. But I found myself watching this incredible story and was transfixed by it. Not only in this documentary gorgeously photographed, the narration, interviews and background material are all first-rate. It tells the story of the magnificent Seabiscuit, a horse deemed "ugly," too small and too insignificant to make the slightest impact on the track. The documentary beautifully weaves in the hindered jockey, Red Pollard, who had broken his leg three times and was considered a "cripple," in the jargon of the 30's. But Pollard and the Biscuit fuse together and beat War Admiral, the most fabled horse of the era. You get to see actual footage of Seabiscuit pulling away and trouncing the noble War Admiral. I found myself jumping up and down, screaming, "Go, Biscuit!" Yup, this film is that mesmerizing. The rags-to-riches story and the ending, in particular, will leave you spellbound. This is a magnificent story, the only criticism is that it's too short at only 60 minutes."
Marvelous -- with or without the book!
T. McGohey | Pfafftown, NC USA | 04/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After reading Hillenbrand's captivating book last year, I was really looking forward to this PBS special, and it did not disappoint. Lots of footage of Seabiscuit, on and off the track, and he's even more captivating on screen than I expected (and I'm someone who generally prefers the written image to the visual one). The producers do an excellent job of setting the larger historical context, and of weaving in interviews with a wide variety of people, including Hillenbrand and Red Pollard's daughter, whose comments were very poignant. The biggest compliment I can give this show is that it will appeal to both those who have and have not read the book. For the latter, it covers not only the highlights of Seabiscuit's career, but also his low points, and the heartbreak of Pollard's life, and the hardship of a typical jockey's life, as well. It covers much ground in only an hour without seeming rushed or crowded. The producers did well in selecting material. For those who have read the book, I found the story just as fresh and exciting the second time around. It's a wonderful compliment to the book, and made me want to go back and reread it. The closeup footage of actual races is mesmerizing, more dramatic than any artificial special effects in Hollywood movies. I understand that a movie version is coming out soon, but I can't imagine it equalling, much less surpassing, this documentary. In this case, I'm betting that Plato's injunction against deception of art will prove true: the real thing is better than an imitation. The only thing better than this documentary would be a ride on the Great Horse himself."
Excellent for all ages
T. McGohey | 11/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I read the book, and saw the Hollywood film. Loved the book, was disenchanted with the movie as it left out so many rich details... of course a movie can never be as thorough as a book, but I felt the Hollywood film fell far short of what it could have been. I wanted to share the Seabiscuit story with my kids, ages 11, 9 and 8 and ordered the PBS DVD, and none of us were disappointed. The PBS film includes much depth in describing the life of a jockey, the action on the race track, the historical circumstances and the characters in this tale. I found the PBS film far superior to the full length feature film. It was amazing to see actual footage of the races and of the beloved little horse. We watched it with the kids, and their grandparents. All of us loved it! Highly recommended."
You've seen the film, now watch the actual Seabiscuit run
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 08/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, the only question here is whether you would enjoy watching this PBS "American Experience" documentary about Seabiscuit after watching the hit theatrical film. The answer is yes.The match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral goes exactly like it was done in the film, but there is something to be said for watching footage of the actual race. Seabiscuit lets War Admiral catch up with him but holds off the challenger and blows past him on the straightaway, pulling away at the end. The footage and shots of Red Pollard sitting on top of the 7-year-old Seabiscuit after finally winning the Santa Anita $100,000 race are quite poignant and there is also the fact that you actually get to see Seabiscuit it all his awkward glory. This documentary shows that the theatrical film is essentially faithful to the dramatic highpoints of Seabiscuit's racing career. In terms of the human beings in the horse's life that boils down to his trainer Tom Smith in the first half of the documentary and his jockies, primarily Red Pollard, in the second. This has to be because the idea that both horse and rider could come back from problems that left the pair with four good legs between them is a story that writes itself. When ESPN put Secretariat on its list of the 50 Greatest Athletes of all time I had no problem with that. I have a pet theory that says you really fall in love with only one horse in your life; for some that would be Black Beauty or the Pie or Trigger or Citation or the one in their own stable. For me it was Secretariat. But I can see where lots of people could end up falling in love with this funny looking horse that died long before they were born could become the horse of their heart.So, whether you come to the documentary from the theatrical film or go to the movies after catching this documentary on PBS during the current pledge drive, I think that you will be satisfied either way. My suggestion would be go to the movies for the Hollywood version and then check out the real thing on this nice little documentary."