The Red Pony - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Red Pony Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 24, 2010
I don't like animal movies in the first place, but I also got weirded out by the strange relationship between Mitchum and that kid in the movie. This movie was just stupid.
July 30, 2010
If you watch it just for the performers, than it will be easier to avoid the maudlin plot aspects.
June 6, 2010
A heavy-handed tale with some emotionless acting (especially by Loy) and an extraneous subplot about the boy's grandfather's remembrance of the past. A subpar example in the genre of children growing up by taking care of animals.
jjnxn
Super Reviewer
½ May 20, 2010
A bit puerile and precious but okay family film with good work from Mitchum and Myrna Loy. Louis Calhern has a grand old time as the grandfather dispensing old west wisdom like Buffalo Bill.
½ February 13, 2010
This is a family film. There is little in the way of interest for modern audiences except the interesting production touches in the first act (where the boys' imagination actually comes alive). Otherwise it is boring.
½ July 1, 2009
I find the movie still stands the test of time. I like the work of John Steinbeck.
November 8, 2008
Not on my list, but I was stuck in a hotel room all day and it was on TCM so I watched it. It's really not very good. There's some decent acting by the main kid and Robert Mitchum, but the story really just drags and drags. The mean kids from school were pretty effective though, because man, did they piss me off. Unless you're really into Steinbeck, or children's pseudo-westerns, recommendation to avoid.
June 24, 2008
This movie is a heartbreaker. It's quiet and full of conflict. Each character goes through a crisis. In the end there is a realease, but it's just as intense as it can be.
May 24, 2008
Mitchum! Loy! Margaret Hamilton! Beau Bridges! A lot of star power in this odd Steinbeck story that features a LOT opf alienation. Louis Calhern is the distant father. Jackie Jackson is very natural and not very actory as the kid. Still, an odd film.
July 25, 2004
(DVD) (First Viewing, 3rd Milestone film)

Vastly inferior to [b]Of Mice and Men[/b], Milestone's Steinbeck adaptation from a decade earlier, [b]The Red Pony[/b] is a straight shot of fresh-scrubbed Americana. Centering around a young boy and his love for his red pony, it failed to catch my interest at any point, and truth be told, during several of the more cloying moments, I caught up with several articles in yesterday's [i]Wall Street Journal[/i] that I hadn't had time to read yet.

That said, [b]The Red Pony[/b] does have one redeeming feature: a magnificent score by Aaron Copland. One of the giants of 20th Century American music, Copland is one of my all-time favorite composers (for both film and otherwise), and this is one of his lamentably few forays into film (his first major success being in [b]Of Mice and Men[/b]). His score succeeds where the rest of the film fails- it reinforces the American way of life with a dignity and rich lyricism without ever becoming heavy-handed. It was the beauty of the music that sustained me through long stretches of the film.

To be fair, I think [b]The Red Pony[/b] is intended to be a "family film," which may explain why it lacks the thematic sophistication of [b]Of Mice and Men[/b]. And it certainly does have some notable attributes, particularly an atypical performance from Robert Mitchum as the kind, paternal figure in the boy's life. But to me, [b]The Red Pony[/b] is first and foremost yet another testament to the genius of Aaron Copland and his music.
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