From 1903's The Great Train Robbery to 2003's Seabiscuit, horses have played a significant role in the annals of moviemaking. Mitchum (daughter of actor Robert Mitchum) and writer Pavia celebrate equine participation by spotlighting these underappreciated animal stars and their handlers. Identifying horses in films ranging from Westerns to romantic comedies, she tells their stories in encyclopedic detail. Though Roy Rogers's Trigger enjoyed star treatment, many others endured inhumane treatment. Errol Flynn was appalled at the cruelty shown toward horses in his 1936 film The Charge of the Light Brigade. Despite his protests, directors and stunt coordinators used painful and even lethal methods to obtain effects. While the American Humane Association exerted some influence in the 1940s, their power waned in the '60s. It took 20 years for animal safety to return as a public issue. Indeed, Mitchum contends it's up to audiences to let producers know their films won't be respected if they don't "treat their hardworking equine and other animal cast members with the respect they so richly deserve." Animal lovers in particular will enjoy the tricks of the trade Mitchum discusses, such as the proper way to teach a horse to fall on cue. The authors give insight into an oft-ignored aspect of filmmaking. BowTie Press 216 Pages
Reading the review/description on Amazon I rapidly came to the conclusion that words can never do this book justice; it's just too incredible. This is a beautiful and very informative coffee table book with exceptional photographs and movie poster art. Although it does not include information on every horse movie it does an amazing job on most films from the start of motion pictures to things like "Spirit," "Lord of the Rings," and "Hildalgo." Ms. Mitchum spent a ton of time interviewing the top stunt riders and horse trainers in Hollywood and it shows - every page is filled with insightful stories about filming, training, and actors. Well worth the cover price, you won't want to put it down!