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My Friend Flicka (1943, Roddy McDowall, Preston Foster)

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Harold D Schuster, who had made his directorial debut with Wings of the Morning, the first Technicolor film to be made in Britain, created a classic of the genre and a huge international box-office success for 20th Century-Fox. ‘I like it very much and I recommend it to anyone else who likes an out-of-doors story, told in the good old-fashioned way’, wrote The Observer, ‘the horses are glorious; the seven humans are natural and discreet; and the whole picture keeps commendably this side of mawkishness’.

Daydreaming youngster RODDY McDOWALL’s longing for a colt of his own interferes with his school work. Finally, after his wife RITA JOHNSON pleads with him to understand his son better, McDowall’s rancher father PRESTON FOSTER gives in. But he is displeased when his son chooses the foal of an unruly mare. McDowall names the colt ‘Flicka’ (the Swedish word for ‘girl’) and his personality blossoms as a result of having to look after the horse and train it. But one day Flicka is frightened, a wild strain, inherited from its ‘loco’ dam, manifests itself, and the horse injured itself. Foster insists the beast must be destroyed but hired hand JAMES BELL is unable to bring himself to shoot it. Flicka’s life is spared but becomes ill. One night, during a storm, McDowall steals out to tend to the horse and catches pneumonia. Foster is determined to get rid of Flicka – and McDowall hears a shot and believes his father has carried out his threat. In fact, Foster has shot a mountain lion which was about to attack him after Flicka whinnied to warn him of its approach – and McDowall and Flicka are happily reunited …

production details
USA | 89 minutes | 1943

Director: Harold D. Schuster
Writers:Lillie Hayward, Frances Edwards Faragoh from the novel by Mary O’Hara

cast
Roddy McDowall as Ken McLaughlin
Preston Foster as Rob McLaughlin
Rita Johnson as Nell McLaughlin
James Bell as Gus
Patti Hale as Hildy
Jeff Corey as Tim Murphy

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