National Velvet

National Velvet

Enchantingly beautiful Elizabeth Taylor became a movie star at age twelve after starring in this classic about a girl and her jockey pal (Mickey Rooney) who transform an unruly horse into a champion.This classic family film made a star of 12-year-old Elizabeth Taylor in the title role as spunky Velvet Brown, a girl who’s determined to enter her horse, Pie, in the Grand National Steeplechase. Critic Pauline Kael called it “One of the most likeable movies of all time.” Mickey Rooney costars as a young man who helps Velvet train Pie for the big race. At the last minute, Velvet herself has to ride Pie in the tournament and cuts her hair to pass for a jockey. Anne Revere won an Oscar as Velvet’s mother, as did editor Robert J. Kern, who cut together a terrifically exciting horse race. Donald Crisp and Angela Lansbury are also featured as members of the Brown family. –Jim Emerson

Rating: (out of 62 reviews)

List Price: $ 5.98

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5 thoughts on “National Velvet

  1. Review by J. W. Clarkson for National Velvet
    National Velvet is a true classic. The problem is with the existing condition of the movie. It is in desperate need of restoration. The out-of-focus look of the film is due to the 3-strip Technicolor transfer. One or more of the 3 strips has aged to the point where they have literally shrunk. So when this version was printed the colors no longer lined up properly. This is a common problem with Technicolor films. It almost happened to “Gone With The Wind”. Whoever owns the rights to the film needs to start a full restoration project. This movie is more than deserving the cost and effort.

  2. Review by Movie Mania for National Velvet
    We first meet the Brown sisters, Edwina (Angela Lansbury), Mellie and Velvet (Elizabeth Taylor) on the last day of the school term. This is going to be a big day for Velvet. On her way home she meets Mike Taylor (Mickey Rooney) and sees a horse which she names the Pi (short for the Pirate).

    Mrs. Brown (Anne Revere) was a famous channel swimmer. Mike’s father was her coach. Mr. Brown (Donald Crisp) is the town butcher and hires Mike to work for him.

    When the Pi escapes and runs rampant through town, his owner decides to raffle him off. Velvet gets the notion that she will win the horse; she’s arranged it with God. When she loses the raffle, she is heart broken. She is so heart broken that she sees the whole town bringing her the Pi. But it’s true. The number drawn hadn’t been sold and the next number was Velvet’s.

    Then Velvet gets the idea to enter the Pi into the Grand National Steeplechase. And finally, she decides to race the horse herself.

    This was Liz’s second starring role – fourth film. You could see from this her true charisma was showing early on. This was also an early role for Angela Lansbury. This film she played a girl about her own age, a rarity for Lansbury. Rooney was the veteran. This was his 50th film. But this was Mickey in transition. He wanted to get away of being Andy Hardy, Judy Garland’s boyfriend or the younger brother of the star of a film. All proved they had the talent to go far.

    The rest of the cast included many of MGM’s greatest character actors. But it was Anne Revere as the center rock of the Brown family that won the Oscar. She gave a great performance that would be the standard and copied to this day.

    The production values are the best of MGM’s toughest standards. You cannot fault any of the production values.

    This is a perfect escapist family fare.

    DVD EXTRAS: None – They should get Liz, Angela and Mickey together to do a commentary track!

  3. Review by for National Velvet
    Warner Brothers obviously doesn’t care about their film library. This fact shines when you consider their DVD of “National Velvet”. This wonderful film features beautiful early color photography, outstanding performances from the likes of Donald Crisp, Mickey Rooney and the young Liz Taylor, a stunning score and a faithful adaptation of a beloved children’s book. WB celebrates this gem, which any other studio would love to have in their archive, by releasing an overpriced, no-frills DVD which was struck from the WORST print imaginable: scratches, drop-outs, discoloration, out of focus footage etc… abound, in addition to a muted, garbled soundtrack + no special features (not even the Theatrical Trailer promised on the box!), even though the two stars are still alive!! Shame on WB. This edition is thankfully out of print. Here’s hoping for a special edition with a commentary before Taylor and Rooney have passed on.

  4. Review by Kala for National Velvet
    This is another of those classic horse movies that is STILL great today! I have seen it a hundred times, and I still enjoy it just as much as the first time. :)The story is basically a poor, horse-crazy girl named Velvet Brown (Elizabeth Taylor) ends up with an unruly, but talented horse she calls The Pie. He’s known for jumping out of pastures and being a nuisance! A young boy (Mickey Rooney) ends up staying with her family for awhile, to help out with the family business. He happens to know about horses and helps Velvet train The Pie. They end up entering the horse in the most prestigious steeplechase event in the world, the Grand National. The rest I’ll keep a secret! The story is so heart warming and special… the characters are funny and sympathetic. The acting is superb! A very young Angela Landsbury has a part as Velvet’s beautiful older sister! And the race at the end is just brilliant – you really can’t help but cheer The Pie on – to this day I find myself standing up and screaming along as he is leaping over those fences!The movie followed the basic story of the book, but as with most movies they had to leave a lot out. The book is a classic in its own right though, and well worth reading if you haven’t already. The story is so exciting and fun, its one I will never forget. I highly recommend seeing this movie, even if you’re not a horse fanatic. 🙂

  5. Review by Diane C. Lore for National Velvet
    National Velvet is a classic film, enjoyable and entertaining for the whole family. I give the film itself 5 stars for this reason alone. They just don’t make ’em like this anymore!!!

    …And now for the real nitty gritty…Warner (and previously MGM DVD) should be ashamed of themselves for putting out such an atrocious transfer of this great Technicolor classic! While the colors show up well in most of the film, the main problem with this DVD is that the source print was VERY DIRTY!!!!

    Expect to see PLENTY of scratches, dust, and out-of-focus shots throughout the 124 minute running time.

    Overall, this is a complete disgrace because Turner Classic Movies runs a fantastically restored PRISTINE print of National Velvet on their network…free of scratches and dust.

    Also, I have another word to the folks at Warner: LOSE THE CHEAPIE SNAPPER CASE PACKAGING!!! AMARAY KEEP CASE ALL THE WAY!!!

    5 stars for the film….1 star for the lousy treatment on DVD!!!

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