Courage of Black Beauty


1h 17m 1957

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 1957
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Alco Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Loosely inspired by the novel Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (London, 1877).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 17m

Synopsis

Sam Adams, a widower who owns a horse ranch and also works as a talent agent, eagerly awaits two events: the arrival of his ten-year-old son Bobby and the birth of a new colt. Sam plans to surprise Bobby, who is returning to the ranch after living with his grandmother, with the colt for his birthday, but the colt's mother is slow in giving birth. Consequently, when Bobby arrives, Sam is curt and impatient with him, and Bobby retreats to his room to sulk. Bobby starts to play with the toy airplane his grandmother gave him, and the noise spooks the horses. Sam yells at the boy and accidentally smashes the toy. Soon after, the mare gives birth and Sam proudly presents her foal to Bobby as a birthday gift. Angry at his father, Bobby sullenly rejects the gift and runs out of the barn. Afterward, Ann Rowden, a neighboring rancher, and her young daughter Lily come to visit, and Bobby tells Lily that he plans to run away. Suitcase in hand, Bobby stops at the barn to say goodbye to Mike Creen, the Adamses' kindly groom, and is won over by the little horse, whom Bobby names Black Beauty. As Beauty grows, he forms a bond with Bobby, but Ben Farraday, the Rowden's foreman, warns that the horse might have inherited a wild streak from his sire. Beauty matures into a spirited adult, and one day, Sam tells Bobby it is time to acquaint him with a bridle and bit. After Bobby successfully bridles the skittish horse, Lily cheers, spooking Beauty, who then accidentally knocks down Bobby. The accident causes Sam to worry that Ben's prophecy may have come true. One day while riding with Bobby, Lily challenges him to a race. In his haste, Bobby rides into a tree branch and is knocked off Beauty, but Beauty returns to his side and nuzzles him with concern. When Sam consults Ben about sending Beauty away to be trained, Ben, impressed that Beauty stood by the injured Bobby, changes his opinion and advises Sam to keep the horse. One day, Sam, concerned that Bobby is becoming too headstrong and spoiled, visits Ann to complain about his son's behavior, and Ann responds that Sam is being overly critical of Bobby. Soon after, actress Janet Corday, one of Sam's demanding clients, comes to the ranch and insists on riding Beauty in Bobby's absence. Bobby, who is visiting at the Rowden ranch, becomes upset when he learns a stranger is riding his horse. Sympathetic to Bobby's plight, Ann offers Bobby a steed, and she, Lily and Bobby mount up and gallop off to catch up with Janet and Sam. Janet is unable to handle Beauty, and consequently, the horse bolts and crashes into a fence. Seriously injured in the accident, Beauty suffers a punctured lung. Bobby stays by the ailing Beauty's side, and when the vet advises that the horse be put out of its misery, Sam decides to destroy the animal that night. After instructing Mike to ask Ben to do the deed, Sam tells Bobby to join him at the Rowden ranch. There, Bobby insists that Beauty will get well. Finally comprehending that the horse is to be destroyed, Bobby runs back to the stables, but Sam restrains him and sends him to his room. As Ben readies his rifle, he notices signs of improvement in the horse and sends for a specialist, who then declares that the lung is not punctured. When Bobby awakens the next morning, Sam tells him that Beauty has recovered. Bobby then races to the corral, and Beauty runs to greet him.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 1957
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Alco Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Loosely inspired by the novel Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (London, 1877).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 17m

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film's title card reads: "Edward L. Alperson Presents An Adaptation of Anna Sewell's Great Classic...Courage of Black Beauty." Sewell's novel, which was published in London in 1877, was actually entitled Black Beauty; she never wrote a book entitled Courage of Black Beauty. Courage of Black Beauty marked the screen debut of Johnny Crawford. In 1946, Alperson produced another adaptation of Sewell's novel titled Black Beauty, starring Mona Freeman and Richard Denning and directed by Max Nosseck (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). Other films and television programs based on the same source include the 1917 Edison three-reeler Your Obedient Servant, with Penny Adams and Pat O'Malley, directed by Edward H. Griffith; the 1921 Vitagraph film Black Beauty, directed by David Smith, with Jean Paige, James Morrison and George Webb (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30); the 1933 Monogram production Black Beauty, directed by Phil Rosen and starring Esther Ralston and Alexander Kirkland (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40); a 1971 German-Spanish-British co-production with Mark Lester, directed by James Hill; and a 1978 NBC-TV mini-series.