National Velvet

National Velvet

Synopsis of Movie

National Velvet gave Elizabeth Taylor the role that made her a star. Then eleven-year-old Taylor made her starring debut opposite another famed child actor, Mickey Rooney, in a film considered by many to be the greatest family film ever made by MGM (although Wizard of Oz fans would beg to differ). “Best film” arguments aside, National Velvet was definitely a charmer, a heartwarming story of kindness and determination based on Enid Bagnold’s 1935 novel.

Rooney plays Mi Taylor, a washed-up jockey still haunted by the memory of a serious accident. Young Velvet Brown invites Mi to share a dinner with her family, and soon Mr. Brown offers the embittered young man a job. Mi takes the offer as a cover to steal from the family, but Velvet’s unflinching kindness softens his heart. When the girl wins a strong-spirited horse in a raffle, she convinces Mi to help her train it.

Against her father’s wishes and Mi’s advice, Velvet enters “Pie” in the prestigious Grand National Sweepstakes. The big event arrives, but Pie’s jockey is unable to compete. Determined to chase her dreams, Velvet decides to disguise herself as a boy (Mi cuts her long hair short) and ride the horse herself, leading to a spectacular steeplechase sequence.

The film was the last for Rooney before shipping out for service in World War II (he returned to the big screen in 1947 for the sixteenth Andy Hardy film, Love Laughs at Andy Hardy). But the stellar cast went well beyond stars Taylor and Rooney. Anne Revere won an Oscar as Velvet’s mother, and Donald Crisp and a young Angela Lansbury played Velvet’s father and older sister, respectively. Released to great praise and financial success in 1945, National Velvet remains a beloved classic today.

Movie Release History

1944 - National Velvet

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Mi Taylor Mickey Rooney
Velvet Brown Elizabeth Taylor
Mr. Brown Donald Crisp
Mrs. Brown Anne Revere
Edwina Brown Angela Lansbury
Van Driver Harry Allen
Reporter William Austin
Constable Billy Bevan
Tim Alec Craig
American Donald Curtis
Mr. Greenford Dennis Hoey
Donald Brown Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins
Ted Terry Kilburn
Mr. Taski Eugene Loring
Entry Official Aubrey Mather
Farmer Ede Reginald Owen
Malvolia Brown Juanita Quigley
Mr. Hullam Arthur Shields
Man with Umbrella Arthur Treacher
Miss Sims Norma Varden
Stewart Frederick Worlock

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