Seabiscuit – America’s
Legendary Racehorse (Documentary)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: D Program: B
the sleeper hits of 2003 has been the dramatic Seabiscuit film from Pleasantville
director Gary Ross, reuniting with that film’s male lead, Tobey
Maguire. One program that has been very
popular as a result has been Seabiscuit
– America’s Legendary Racehorse, made in the same year. It brings together the history of the
wonderhorse (no pun intended, Tobey!) with stills, stock footage, and
interviews with key persons in the world of horse racing then and now.
only runs 51 minutes, it is a good watch, covering everything it can about the
horse and the men who made the old longshot a winner. The horse was not in the best shape to begin
with before the phenomenal run. The
various men who enter the story are all characters of their own worth
interesting stories to tell. For being
roughly half the length of the feature film, which itself devotes much time to
being a “feel good film” to begin with, it is a fine companion worth checking
out whether you have seen the film or not.
lands up becoming a national phenomenon at a time when the Great Depression had
kicked in, while Europe had impending doom on the way.
It is a huge surprise that this story is not better known, but
horseracing has traditionally been known as a not-always-clean profession. Visiting this rarely charted territory has
full-screen image was produced on current analog videotape, though there is a
generous sampling of stills and vintage footage that actually survived. Current color tape and old black and white
film mix with some great shots of memorabilia of the time the horse’s glory
days are a real plus. The simple audio
is PCM CD 2.0 Stereo is a nice change from the usual Dolby 1.0 or 2.0 sound and
it makes watching the special more enjoyable.
The few extras include two too-brief radio clips of races featuring the
legendary winner, a minute-long “slide show” that has music, and a trivia game.
Entertainment, who produced the DVD, also co-produced the actual program. This was very smart, because the dramatic
film never can offer the authenticity (and certainly not the memorabilia) of
the actual event. As the feature film
slowly finds more of an audience, the curiosity about this program will join
it. Fortunately, anyone who catches it
will not be disappointed.
- Nicholas Sheffo