A new book about movie horses!
Introducing….horses in film
The concept of a horse as a celebrity is easy enough to accept – because, after all, few celebrities become famous for actually doing much. But horses as actors? Isn’t their ‘acting’ all trickery and Computer Generated Imagery?
Well, one of the greatest film directors of all time, Steven Spielberg, who directed the moving film War Horse with some 280 horses, has said: ‘The horses were an extraordinary experience for me, because several members of my family ride. I was really amazed at how expressive horses are and how much they can show what they’re feeling.’ War Horse, released in 2012, tells the epic tale of how Albert, a young boy, and his beloved farm horse, Joey, are separated and undergo harrowing adventures in World War One. In the process of filming, yes, there were stunts, props, tricks and Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), but there was also great acting by the horse stars. The horse actors had make-up – and indeed their own make-up artist. But what shines through, what really impresses the audience, is the personality and inherent beauty of the horses. No amount of cinematic trickery or CGI can replace the genuine dramatic qualities of horses.
For example, horses provide a feast for the eyes. Throughout the history of cinema, audiences have fallen for the most glamorous screen stars. This is just as true for horse stars – especially the outstandingly beautiful ones with their gleaming coats of pure black or dazzling white, or the Palominos with a golden coat and flowing silver tail. Think of the well-toned bodies, with manes to die for, of horses such as Black Beauty, Gandalf’s horse Shadowfax or Roy Rogers’ Trigger. Lights! Camera! Gallop! will introduce you to all these and many more: the great stars and some lesser-known but still brilliant actors, from the beginning of film to the present time. You will learn about their film characters and their real off-screen personalities.
You’ll also find out about how some of the most awe-inspiring scenes involving horses were filmed and even how to spot some of the tricks of the trade. All the main genres of film featuring horses are covered: Westerns (great for stunts and exciting chase sequences), ‘wild horse’ movies (surviving against enormous odds), action films (even horses versus Nazis!) and comedies (horses on pianos, horses tricking humans – and a drunken horse).
A word on terminology: many of the great horse actors were stars in the days when – for example – Native Americans were routinely referred to as ‘Indians’ and frequently depicted as ‘the cowboys’ enemy.’
Enjoy the Ride!! —- tim