National Velvet

  • Directors: Clarence Brown
  • Producers: Pandro S Berman
  • Writers: Helen Deutsch, Enid Bagnold
  • Genres: Drama, Family, Sport
  • Actors: Mickey Rooney, Donald Crisp, Elizabeth Taylor, Anne Revere, Angela Lansbury, Reginald Owen, Terry Kilburn

National Velvet is the story of a twelve-year girl, Velvet Brown, living in Sewels in Sussex, England, who saves a horse from the knacker’s yard and trains it for the Grand National steeplechase, aided by her father’s hired hand, a young drifter, Mi Taylor. The fictional horse which Velvet Brown trained and rode in the National is called “The Pie”. However, when she discovers that the Latvian jockey hired to ride the Pie doesn’t believe he can win, she disguises herself as a male jockey and rides the horse to victory herself.

How Green Was My Valley

  • Directors: John Ford
  • Producers: Darryl F Zanuck
  • Writers: Story, Richard Llewellyn, Screenplay, Philip Dunne
  • Genres: Drama, Family
  • Actors: Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O Hara, Anna Lee, Donald Crisp, Roddy McDowall

The story is told through the eyes, and with the voice-over narration of Huw Morgan (Roddy McDowall), now a middle-aged man leaving the mining town of Cwm Rhondda, recalling the events that most impressed his younger self. The boy Huw is played by Roddy, but the voice-over is not Roddy’s voice.

His first memories are of the marriage of his brother, Ivor (Patric Knowles), and the burgeoning romance of his sister, Angharad (Maureen O’Hara) with the new preacher, Mr. Gruffydd (Walter Pidgeon). Still too young to work in the local coal mine like his father, Gwilym (Donald Crisp), and his five older brothers, he senses the seriousness of an imminent strike by the rift it creates between his father and the other boys when three of them move out of the family abode.

During the tensions of the strike, Huw saves his mother (Sara Allgood) from drowning and in so doing temporarily loses the use of his legs. As Gruffydd aids in Huw’s recovery, insisting on a positive attitude, he suggests that it is only the first of many trials the boy will have to face. The film concludes with the death of the father in a mining accident.