I recently acquired access to Netflix and I have been very excited about the volume of instant play movies. Yes, I'm still leaving the house daily, but I did have a root canal yesterday and have had an annoying sore throat since Friday so I've been allowing myself a little couch time.
I noticed the 1978 film of "International Velvet" and thought, oh, why not. I had no idea it would be such a good film. I expected one of those predictable sequels that follows the same formula as the original, usually lacks stars, and is generally melodramatic and sappy. I thought I would watch it purely for the unrealistic but heart squeezing moments that all horse/girl films manage to possess and this girl has enough horse in her to still enjoy. Though it did deliver on the sappy part and yes, I found myself crying more than once, I was impressed. Now it did follow the same "troubled girl is saved by horses - well, "A" horse which she then trains and then wins huge competition" formula but the depth of characters, the subplots, and the human emotion really thickened the deal. The Characters were all much more layered and unpredictable than I expected. They all seemed much more real than your average sequal. And how can you go wrong with Anthony Hopkins playing the tough but honest riding coach?
As a special bonus there are lots of scenes of Eventing just for the sake of showing the sport. Not sure how they were all filmed, and one "fall" was clearly planned, but many were just real eventers taking real obstacles. The film pretends to be the Olympic games so it shows some rivalry of the US and British teams. The commentary during the competitions was very interesting since it was filmed over 30 years ago and many things, including the Olympics have changed. There is one line where Hopkins says "They don't allow cowboys in the Olympics, you know" but now the DO!
I was also intrigued by the lat 70's equestrian fashion. One or two of my readers may well remember sporting the styles immortalized in this film. Seeing this movie version of how they transported horses in an airplane was also rather fascinating. I don't believe they do it like that anymore...
In conclusion, I highly recommend the film. And if not for the complex characters and fine acting, then watch it just to see the scene where the girl and the horse run towards each other in the field in mutual joy and anticipation of their future life together. If that doesn't make you fuzzy inside then you must be a heartless neanderthal.