For Shirley Temple, not Seabiscuit, fans.
harry715 | VA United States | 05/05/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This movie trades on the name Seabiscuit, but isn't really about the famous horse. Buy it if you want to see a Shirley Temple movie. Wait for the movie based on Laura Hillebrand's book to see the real story of Seabiscuit."
Pretty average film, but Temple is good.
Lisa Ebeling | smalltown, USA | 05/02/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was curious to see Shirley Temple as a young woman, and was pleased to find that she retained the confidence and charm that she displayed in the movies she made in her childhood. Her character comes to America from Ireland, but has a mysteriously inconsistent brogue; not entirely a surprise to me, but she does a nice job with the role. In "The Story of Seabiscuit," Temple is a young nurse whose uncle is a horse trainer--but she hates horse racing because her only brother died as the result of a fall in a horse race. The plot is entirely predictable: boy meets girl, girl hates boy, boy woos girl, boy wins girl, but the footage of actual horse races makes the film a bit more interesting than it would be without it. If you're a Shirley Temple fan (and who wouldn't/couldn't be?!), you will want to see this because Shirley is her sweet, pretty self. Don't expect any singing or dancing, however, as this is not the vehicle for that."
Fitzgerald and Footage make the movie...
Mark Savary | Seattle, WA | 10/04/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
""The Story of Seabiscuit" is a perfect example of the ridiculously historically inaccurate Hollywood studio film. Next to the Errol Flynn pre-Civil War movie "Santa Fe Trail", "The Story of Seabiscuit" is probably the most fanciful version of history ever put on film. If that weren't enough, Shirley Temple's Irish brogue is reminicent of the Kevin Costner School of Foreign Accents, going back and forth from perfect to painful.That being said, the movie does have a few bright spots that carry it through the mush of melodrama. The Technicolor photography is absolutely stunning, for one thing. The story moves along at a pretty good pace, and there's a good amount of humor sprinkled into the script. Cast members Lon McCallister and Barry Fitzgerald ("The Quiet Man") are tops as jockey and wise old horse handler, respectively. Even Seabiscuit's son, Sea Sovereign, was used for close-ups. Best of all is the shockingly innovative technique used by the filmmakers to work in the black and white footage of the actual racehorse, Seabiscuit, in action. Opting for pure black and white segments, the newsreel of Seabiscuit is cleverly added to make a seamless segment into the Technicolor film. Strange, but oddly effective.The nine minute primer on the intricacies of a horse race, included in the bonus material, is still pretty accurate and informative.Worth watching at least once to see Fitzgerald's performance and the Seabiscuit footage, plus the Technicolor splendor. Temple fans or Seabiscuit completists may want to own the disc. Harmless fun for family viewing, and suitable for kids who like horsies."
Actually, I was surprised at how much they got right
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 12/22/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Books have been written about what Hollywood does to history when it makes a movie, so it is not surprising that "The Story of Seabiscuit" takes great liberties with the story of the famous thoroughbred. But I was actually surprised that so much of the true story made it into the movie. Screenwriter John Taintor Foote must have done some research, because some key details, such as training Seabiscuit to respond to the sound of the bell for the celebrated match race with War Admiral, are worked into the story. But you do get a sense for the film's priorities when you take the fact that Seabiscuit's jockey, Red Pollard, married the nurse who took care of him in the hospital when he was recuperating from this leg injury, and it turns into the big romantic plotline of the film with jockey Ted Knowles (Lon McCallister) falling for Margaret O'Hara (Shirley Temple), the neice of Shawn O'Hara (Barry Fitzgerald), who has come from Ireland to train Seabiscuit for glory. Margaret is studying to become a nurse and likes Ted, but since her brother was killed at the Grand National (a flashback using film from "National Velvet"), she cannot stand to be in love with a jockey. When he is injured (chest and arm rather than leg) they become closer and he agrees to stop racing, but then comes the big race and--well, you can just imagine.Another way that you can tell where the focus of this film is would be that Shirley Temple gets top billing over Barry Fitzgerald, even though the strength of this film is Fitzgerald working his peculiar brand of magic on this horse and the actual footage of Seabiscuit's big races (at which point the movie suddenly goes from color to black & white so that the actual footage fits). This 1949 film was Temple's last movie, made 14 years after she received a special juvenile Academy Award, and besides the familiar smile why she shouts for "Biscuit!" from the box at the races, she adds little to the film. However, she is still better than the caricature of Wong the O'Hara's Cook.It is a safe assumption that most people are going to come to "The Story of Seabiscuit" out of curiosity, having read Laura Hillenbrand's best selling novel or seen the critically acclaimed 2003 film, so all of the changes in the historical record are going to really stick out. Charles S. Howard (Pierre Watking), the owner of Seabiscuit gets to keep his name, but that is just about it. Besides, even the interest in seeing actual footage of Seabiscuit racing is less impressive when you can see it in the excellent "PBS American Experience" documentary. But if you have read the book, seen the movie and the documentary, and still have not satisfied your longing for all things Seabiscuit, then this film is certainly worth a look."