Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


WHITE MANE (Crin blanc: Le cheval sauvage/1953). Director: Albert Lamorrise.

A group of ranchers in France try to capture White Mane, the leader of a group of wild horses. The young fisherboy Folco (Alain Emery) befriends the horse and tries to tame him. When he succeeds, the exasperated ranchers decide they want the horse after all and set off in pursuit of the boy and White Mane -- with tragic results. This short film, which won the Grand Prix in Cannes in 1953, is poetic, charming and poignant, beautifully photographed by Edmond Sechan and with a lovely score by Maurice Le Roux (Leroux). One of the nicest moments has Folco bringing a small turtle to his fascinated younger sibling, who is delighted with it. The latest version is narrated by actor Peter Strauss. Although the commentary tries to put a positive spin on the ending, there's no getting around its grimness. Albert Lamorrise was also responsible for the cheerier Red Balloon. An amusing aspect of White Mane is the way the horse's mane, falling over its eyes, reminds one of the "peekaboo bangs" of Veronica Lake!

Verdict: Heartbreaking children's film for adults. ***.

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