Ride a Wild Pony (1975)

G | 90 mins | Children's works | 25 December 1975

Director:

Don Chaffey

Producer:

Jerome Courtland

Cinematographer:

Jack Cardiff

Editor:

Mike Campbell

Production Designer:

Robert Hilditch

Production Company:

Walt Disney Productions
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HISTORY

       The location for the fictional bush town of “Barambogie” was a remote former gold mining town in the Australian state of New South Wales called Chiltern, according to Walt Disney Productions publicity material in AMPAS files. Art director Robert Hilditch and his crew spent six weeks and $50,000 turning it into the film’s main set. Chiltern’s paved Main Street was covered with dirt, and 1926 automobiles were brought in for the 1927 story. An unused courthouse was renovated for the film’s trial scenes and a Masonic hall turned into a police station. The rural scenes were filmed in the remote Horton Valley, 400 miles northwest of Sydney, where farmer Rupert Richardson, the president of the Welsh Pony Society, supplied both a pony herd and the property. The “Ellison” family’s home was filmed at an historic homestead in Belltrees, a sheep farming district 150 miles south of the Horton Valley. The two juvenile leads, Robert Bettles and Eva Griffith, were ages thirteen and eleven, respectively.
       Filming was set to begin in Nov 1974, the 2 Oct 1974 Var noted.
       The film opened on Christmas Day 1975 for a week in Los Angeles, CA, to qualify for Academy Award consideration, the 25 Dec 1975 LAT reported.
      End credits include the following information: “Filmed on location in Australia, by Walt Disney Productions Ltd, 68 Pall Mall, London, S.W.1. England.”
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       The location for the fictional bush town of “Barambogie” was a remote former gold mining town in the Australian state of New South Wales called Chiltern, according to Walt Disney Productions publicity material in AMPAS files. Art director Robert Hilditch and his crew spent six weeks and $50,000 turning it into the film’s main set. Chiltern’s paved Main Street was covered with dirt, and 1926 automobiles were brought in for the 1927 story. An unused courthouse was renovated for the film’s trial scenes and a Masonic hall turned into a police station. The rural scenes were filmed in the remote Horton Valley, 400 miles northwest of Sydney, where farmer Rupert Richardson, the president of the Welsh Pony Society, supplied both a pony herd and the property. The “Ellison” family’s home was filmed at an historic homestead in Belltrees, a sheep farming district 150 miles south of the Horton Valley. The two juvenile leads, Robert Bettles and Eva Griffith, were ages thirteen and eleven, respectively.
       Filming was set to begin in Nov 1974, the 2 Oct 1974 Var noted.
       The film opened on Christmas Day 1975 for a week in Los Angeles, CA, to qualify for Academy Award consideration, the 25 Dec 1975 LAT reported.
      End credits include the following information: “Filmed on location in Australia, by Walt Disney Productions Ltd, 68 Pall Mall, London, S.W.1. England.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 Feb 1976
---
Daily Variety
12 Dec 1975
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 1974
p. 11
Hollywood Reporter
28 Feb 1975
pp. 14-15
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1975
p. 8, 27
Los Angeles Times
25 Dec 1975
p. 44
New York Times
17 Jul 1976
p. 9
Variety
2 Oct 1974
---
Variety
17 Dec 1975
p. 32
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Walt Disney Productions Presents
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit mgr
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp
Cond by
Rec at
Music exec
SOUND
Sd ed
Sd rec
Sd rec
MAKEUP
Make-up
Hairdressing
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod accountant
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel A Sporting Proposition by James Aldridge (London, 1973).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
SONGS
"In The Good Old Summertime," words by Ren Shields, music by George Evans.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 December 1975
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 25 Dec 1975; New York opening: 16 Jul 1976
Production Date:
began Nov 1974 in Australia
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Walt Disney Productions
11 February 1976
LP46002
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Camera and lenses by Panavision ®
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in feet):
8,190
MPAA Rating:
G
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1927 Australia, young Scotty Pirie sneaks onto James Ellison’s ranch, jumps on a wild “Welsh buckskin pony,” and rides until it throws him into a river. As Scotty swims away, Bluey Waters, Ellison’s “stockman,” threatens to report him as a truant. Constable Sgt. Collins visits Scotty’s hardscrabble farm and serves his father, Angus Pirie, with a warrant for keeping the boy out of school for the past two months. Angus replies that the school is seven miles away, and Scotty has no transportation. In the nearby town of Barambogie, Angus takes the summons to solicitor Charles E. Quayle, who in turn visits J. C. Strapp, the “police attorney,” to say he is suing the state of New South Wales for not providing an education for his client’s son. Also, as part of the suit, Quayle wants to open an inquiry into who sold the government the unsuitable farmland that was sold in turn to Angus, a Scottish immigrant, as part of a settlement program. Strapp withdraws the summons to avoid political embarrassment. James Ellison, the chairman of the board of education, along with being one of the area’s biggest landowners, sends Bluey to the Pirie farm with one of his wild Welsh ponies as a gift for Scotty, but out of pride, Angus agrees only to purchase the horse for three pounds. Scotty befriends the pony, calls him “Taffy,” and rides bareback everywhere, often in a reckless manner. When he rides to school and confines Taffy in a stall, however, the pony kicks its way out. That evening, at Mr. Quayles’ dinner table, his son, Kit, and daughter, Jeannie, discuss their classmate. Though Kit likes Scotty, Jeannie thinks ...

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In 1927 Australia, young Scotty Pirie sneaks onto James Ellison’s ranch, jumps on a wild “Welsh buckskin pony,” and rides until it throws him into a river. As Scotty swims away, Bluey Waters, Ellison’s “stockman,” threatens to report him as a truant. Constable Sgt. Collins visits Scotty’s hardscrabble farm and serves his father, Angus Pirie, with a warrant for keeping the boy out of school for the past two months. Angus replies that the school is seven miles away, and Scotty has no transportation. In the nearby town of Barambogie, Angus takes the summons to solicitor Charles E. Quayle, who in turn visits J. C. Strapp, the “police attorney,” to say he is suing the state of New South Wales for not providing an education for his client’s son. Also, as part of the suit, Quayle wants to open an inquiry into who sold the government the unsuitable farmland that was sold in turn to Angus, a Scottish immigrant, as part of a settlement program. Strapp withdraws the summons to avoid political embarrassment. James Ellison, the chairman of the board of education, along with being one of the area’s biggest landowners, sends Bluey to the Pirie farm with one of his wild Welsh ponies as a gift for Scotty, but out of pride, Angus agrees only to purchase the horse for three pounds. Scotty befriends the pony, calls him “Taffy,” and rides bareback everywhere, often in a reckless manner. When he rides to school and confines Taffy in a stall, however, the pony kicks its way out. That evening, at Mr. Quayles’ dinner table, his son, Kit, and daughter, Jeannie, discuss their classmate. Though Kit likes Scotty, Jeannie thinks he is just a foul-smelling “bush boy.” Their mother explains that the Pirie farm has no running water. Over the next few days, townspeople complain about Scotty riding Taffy through Barambogie, jumping fences and nearly knocking people over. One day, Scotty finds Taffy gone and strikes out to find him. Told the pony may have been stolen, he gets a ride in a passing farmer’s buckboard and goes to a horse auction miles away, but Taffy is not there. Meanwhile, Scotty’s mother goes to James to report the boy may be somewhere on his ranch, looking for the pony, and James tells Bluey to keep an eye out for him. That evening, James and his wife are frightened when their headstrong daughter, Josie, a polio victim confined to a wheelchair, is thrown from a pony. He agrees to build her a cart and, at Josie’s insistence, lets her choose one of his wild ponies, so that it will be exclusively hers. When Bluey rounds up the ponies and herds them into a corral, Josie chooses the liveliest one and calls him “Beau.” Meanwhile, Scotty returns home, and after Angus whips him for running away, he gently tells the boy he must accept that his pony is gone for good. Scotty walks to school, but becomes unmanageable. When the local feed and grain dealer says Taffy is probably dog meat by now, Scotty destroys some of his merchandise. At the Ellison ranch, Bluey tames the pony and accustoms it to pulling a cart. As soon as Josie and Beau are comfortable riding together, her parents agree to let her enter the decorative cart contest at a local carnival. However, the moment Scotty sees Beau, he recognizes the pony as Taffy, grabs the bridle, and makes it buck, nearly throwing Josie off her cart. Constables take the boy away, but drop him off at home and order him to stay away from the Ellisons. During an argument at the dinner table, Kit Quayle tells his father he thinks the pony belongs to Scotty. Since Bluey got Josie’s pony from the same herd that Taffy came from, he figures Taffy rejoined his fellow ponies after running away. Regardless, says Charles, “possession is nine-tenths of the law.” When Kit relays this legal truism to Scotty, the boy steals Taffy from the Ellison ranch. Soon after, Sgt. Collins, accompanied by James, arrives at the Pirie farm to arrest him, but the pony is not on the property. Charles convinces Scotty to deliver the pony to the Barambogie district pound, where it can be held as an unclaimed “pound pony” until its ownership is adjudicated in court. Both Josie and Scotty are allowed to visit the pony, and the two become familiar with seeing each other. In court, Bluey admits that he did not write down Taffy’s measurements or coloring before selling it to the Piries because Welsh ponies “all look alike.” When Josie and Scotty testify about their ponies’ personal characteristics, they sound similar. Everyone in town takes bets on who will win. Finally, Charles suggests that the court should let the pony decide whom it belongs to. Both children agree, and the following day, as the entire town watches, Josie and Scotty sit at opposite ends of a roped area as the pony enters. It picks Scotty by nudging him off his chair, settling the case, but afterward, the pony also goes to Josie and lets her rub his nose. Scotty rides away on Taffy, and James later brings Josie to the farm to apologize. Josie and Scotty spend the day together, and he agrees to bring the pony to her house every Saturday. Later, Josie takes Scotty for a ride in her cart.


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

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