The Rocking Horse Winner Film Details
Overview: A young boy receives a rocking horse for Christmas and soon learns that he is able to pick the winning horse at the races.
Tagline: Exciting As Your Wildest Dreams!
Review: The Rocking Horse Winner is directed by Anthony Pelissier, who also adapts the screenplay from the D. H. Lawrence short story of the same name. It stars Valerie Hobson, John Howard Davies, Ronald Squire, John Mills, Hugh Sinclair and Susan Richards. Music is by William Alwyn and cinematography by Desmond Dickinson. Dreadful, Evil Money. There’s a handful of British films from the 1940s that deserve to be far better known, films that blended haunted themes with film noir traits and visual smarts. The Night Has Eyes, Uncle Silas, Corridor Of Mirrors and the magnificent Queen Of Spades readily come to mind. Now it has an official DVD release, we can add Anthony Pelissier’s brilliant The Rocking Horse Winner to the obscure gem list. Story has young Paul Grahame (Davies) receiving a weird looking Rocking Horse for Christmas. He’s an introverted and sensitive lad, seemingly reaching out for some sort of guidance from his parents. Unfortunately his mother, Hester (Hobson), is a spendthrift badly hung up on money as some sort of status symbol, while his father, Richard (Sinclair), is a gambler, and not a good one at that. With Uncle Oscar Creswell (Squire) bailing them out of financial trouble for the last time, the Grahame family are heading for bankruptcy unless income can be found. Befriending the new handyman, Bassett (Mills), Paul is delighted to find that Bassett is an ex-jockey and regales him with tails of horse racing, he even learns from Bassett how to ride his Rocking Horse like a real jockey. Then something magical happens, Paul seems to be able to predict the winners of real horse races, and the money starts to roll in D. H. Lawrence’s story gets a faithful adaptation and transfers quite excellently to the screen. It’s a haunting fantasy at heart, but one tinged with utter sadness, and being Lawrence it has a sex metaphor sitting right in the middle of the greed and exploitation thematics. As story progresses, it soon becomes evident that Paul has to ride his Rocking Horse to a frenzied climax, if he doesn’t get there then he will not see the name of the next race winner. Initially he is thrilled to be able to win lots of money, the house seems to be telling him that his parents must have more money, so aided by Bassett, he is saving the cash to help his frantic mother, who by now has resorted to pawning possessions for cash. But the more he wins, and the more Bassett and Uncle Oscar also profit, the further away from his parents Paul gets. Soon enough it’s going to come to a head and it will prove to be devastating for the Grahame family. Pelissier, Alwyn and Dickinson each work respective wonders to smoother the picture with a sense of the unearthly, not so much supernatural, but like a blurry discord, a purgatory where ignorant parenting dwells and childhood innocence is corrupted. Pic is crammed with sinister imagery. The Rocking Horse itself is up in the attic, which gives the makers perfect opportunities for shadows to enhance the “unhealthy” scenes of Paul riding away like a boy possessed, while for the key scene Pelissier uses a depth perception technique that is gloriously disorientating. An ascent by Paul up to the attic is moody magnificence, Hester’s visit to the back room Pawnbroker (Charles Goldner) drips with unease, while the finale features a near demonic last shot that literally will be burned into your soul. With top performances from the cast to seal the deal, this tale of a boy and his Rocking Horse gnaws away at the senses as the fallibility of the human condition is frighteningly laid bare. 9/10
Duration: 91 min
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Also known as: Sublime Inspiração,The Rocking Horse Winner,Dobitnik sa drvenog konjića,Keinuhevossankari,Amartiai goneon,Spökhästen,Победитель на деревянной лошадке