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Movie of the Day: The Black Stallion

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In its day, Carroll Ballard’s film was successful enough to spawn a sequel and a TV series, but The Black Stallion has become something of a forgotten classic. While this means it hasn't been hit with the nostalgia bug, it still deserves a look whether or not you loved it as a kid or are watching it for the first time. For starters, this story of a shipwrecked boy and horse bonding on a desert island is perhaps the most beautifully shot children’s film ever made. Fans of Hollywood dynasty trivia will be pleased to know cinematographer Caleb Deschanel is the father of Zooey and Emily with Twin Peaks actress Mary Jo Deschanel. The island scenes are also a great example of visual storytelling (apologies to fans of Mr. Ed and Bojack, but the horse does not talk). There's also a career performance from former child star Mickey Rooney as a gruff horse trainer in the film's third act without any yellowface controversy attached. Still, it's the friendship between boy and horse that makes this movie work; screenwriter Melissa Mathison would craft a similar relation in her script for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. At any age, The Black Stallion will make you reconsider humans' relationship to the natural world.

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