Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Red Pony (1973)

Directed by Robert Totten
My rating: 2 stars out of 4
IMDb Wikipedia
(DVD, Universal Vault Series)

Henry Fonda and wife Maureen O'Hara live on a remote cattle ranch. She struggles to understand his heavy-handed methods with their son. When he is injured repairing the barn roof, Fonda makes up for it by buying him a young pony on a trip to town. The boy and horse develop a deep bond, but the horse gets sick and dies. Heartbroken, the boy blames his father and the two drift further apart. Later, their other horse is having problems giving birth, but Fonda steps in and saves both mother and foal, proving to his son that he really does care. Fonda's reuniting with Steinbeck material has mixed results. His character is not very likeable and Fonda struggles to convince with a prolonged drunken bar fight. Animal lovers will not find much to like here either, the death of the pony is particularly painful to watch. Even old pros Jack Elam and Ben Johnson can't liven it up.

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