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HISTORY

The film's opening credits acknowledge the cooperation and approval of the American Humane Association in the production of the picture. Another title states, "This presentation of Anna Sewell's immortal classic has been freely adapted for the screen--carefully preserving the beautiful spirit of this most beloved of all horse stories." Mona Freeman and Richard Denning were loaned to the production by Paramount. Alson Productions was owned by Edward L. Alperson.
       There have been many screen adaptations of Anna Sewell's novel. Among them are a 1917 Edison three-reel picture entitled Your Obedient Servant , with Peggy Adams and Pat O'Malley, directed by Edward H. Griffith; a 1921 Vitagraph film directed by David Smith, with Jean Paige, James Morrison and George Webb, (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.0432); a 1933 Monogram version directed by Phil Rosen that starred Esther Ralston and Alexander Kirkland (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.0356); a 1971 German-Spanish-British co-production directed by James Hill, starring Mark Lester; a 1972 British television series entitled The Adventures of Black Beauty ; a 1978 NBC-TV mini-series; and, a 1994 Warner Bros. release directed and written by Caroline ... More Less

The film's opening credits acknowledge the cooperation and approval of the American Humane Association in the production of the picture. Another title states, "This presentation of Anna Sewell's immortal classic has been freely adapted for the screen--carefully preserving the beautiful spirit of this most beloved of all horse stories." Mona Freeman and Richard Denning were loaned to the production by Paramount. Alson Productions was owned by Edward L. Alperson.
       There have been many screen adaptations of Anna Sewell's novel. Among them are a 1917 Edison three-reel picture entitled Your Obedient Servant , with Peggy Adams and Pat O'Malley, directed by Edward H. Griffith; a 1921 Vitagraph film directed by David Smith, with Jean Paige, James Morrison and George Webb, (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.0432); a 1933 Monogram version directed by Phil Rosen that starred Esther Ralston and Alexander Kirkland (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.0356); a 1971 German-Spanish-British co-production directed by James Hill, starring Mark Lester; a 1972 British television series entitled The Adventures of Black Beauty ; a 1978 NBC-TV mini-series; and, a 1994 Warner Bros. release directed and written by Caroline Thompson. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Jul 1946.
---
Daily Variety
17 Jul 46
p. 3.
Film Daily
22 Jul 46
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 45
p. 15
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 46
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 46
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 Dec 45
p. 2778.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Jul 46
p. 3102.
New York Times
30 Aug 46
p. 13.
Variety
17 Jul 46
p. 8.
DETAILS
Release Date:
September 1946
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 29 August 1946
Production Date:
11 November--22 December 1945 at PRC Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
3 August 1946
Copyright Number:
LP609
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
74
Length(in feet):
6,709
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11515
SYNOPSIS

In rural England of the 1880's, widower Squire Wendon is rearing his young daughter Anne. Her father has forbidden her to be present when their mare, "Duchess," gives birth. Anne sneaks out to the stable, however, and is discovered by her father who forbids her ever to ride Duchess again. Despite this punishment, he gives Anne Duchess's colt because it is her birthday, and she names him "Black Beauty." As the colt grows, so does their mutual affection. Bill Dixon, a young American visiting the nearby Carrington family, admires the horse and is invited to tea but has to decline as he is returning to America that very afternoon. Two years later, at a birthday party for both Anne and Black Beauty, Anne receives a locket from Bill indicating that he will be returning soon. After Joe, the young stable hand, gives Anne a present of a bridle, she goes for her first ride on Black Beauty who turns out to be a very good jumper. Anne's father is pleased that she has learned patience, self control and discipline in becoming a horsewoman but would now like her to attend a boarding school to acquire some social polish as a young woman. After having graduated from Yale, Bill returns to England but still regards Anne as a child and keeps company with the older Evelyn Carrington. One day, the squire invites Bill to go riding with them and, to accentuate her blossoming femininity, Anne decides to ride side-saddle and wear a riding habit. To Anne's dismay, Bill brings Evelyn with him, but her horse has gone lame and Anne, declining to join them, lends her Black Beauty. Anne later ... +


In rural England of the 1880's, widower Squire Wendon is rearing his young daughter Anne. Her father has forbidden her to be present when their mare, "Duchess," gives birth. Anne sneaks out to the stable, however, and is discovered by her father who forbids her ever to ride Duchess again. Despite this punishment, he gives Anne Duchess's colt because it is her birthday, and she names him "Black Beauty." As the colt grows, so does their mutual affection. Bill Dixon, a young American visiting the nearby Carrington family, admires the horse and is invited to tea but has to decline as he is returning to America that very afternoon. Two years later, at a birthday party for both Anne and Black Beauty, Anne receives a locket from Bill indicating that he will be returning soon. After Joe, the young stable hand, gives Anne a present of a bridle, she goes for her first ride on Black Beauty who turns out to be a very good jumper. Anne's father is pleased that she has learned patience, self control and discipline in becoming a horsewoman but would now like her to attend a boarding school to acquire some social polish as a young woman. After having graduated from Yale, Bill returns to England but still regards Anne as a child and keeps company with the older Evelyn Carrington. One day, the squire invites Bill to go riding with them and, to accentuate her blossoming femininity, Anne decides to ride side-saddle and wear a riding habit. To Anne's dismay, Bill brings Evelyn with him, but her horse has gone lame and Anne, declining to join them, lends her Black Beauty. Anne later changes her mind and, riding a particularly rambunctious mare, is thrown and knocked unconscious. Bill then rides Black Beauty to summon the local doctor who returns on the same fast horse. Meanwhile, Anne has been taken home. Arriving there, the doctor tells young Joe that Black Beauty is very tired, needs cooling off and linament rubbed on his skinned legs. Although Joe tries to stop him, the horse drinks cold water, something he should not do when overheated. Anne recovers quickly, but discovers that Black Beauty is sick as a result of Joe having walked him around without a blanket against the cold night air. The horse recovers but Joe leaves the Squire's employment, blaming himself for Black Beauty's illness. Bill and Evelyn visit, arousing the jealousy of Anne, who decides that she should now go away to boarding school. John, the groom, agrees to care for her horse while she is away. Later, the local veterinarian finds that Black Beauty's leg is seriously infected and that the spreading infection is so severe that the horse must be destroyed. After the squire asks John to shoot Black Beauty, a shot is heard but John has deliberately missed and takes the horse into hiding. When Anne returns from school, the squire asks John to tell her the bad news, but instead he tells her the good news. However, when Anne and John go to reclaim Black Beauty, they discover that the person who was caring for him has given him to a horse auctioneer. Anne and John, with the now romantically involved Bill following them, learn that Black Beauty has been sold to a baker as a cart horse. After they visit one business, the baker mentions to his assistant that his visitors had been looking for a black horse with a white star on its forehead. The assistant turns out to be Joe who runs after Anne and John to tell them that the horse is stabled nearby. As Anne and Bill search for the horse, Black Beauty's driver is whipping him when another driver intervenes. When a fight ensues, the stable catches fire, and Anne arrives and attempts to save Black Beauty from the inferno. Bill reaches the stable just in time to save them both. Later, after Anne and Bill are married, Black Beauty fathers a son. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.