Friday, December 2, 2011

War Horse

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

If you have heard of the multiple-Tony winning play, War Horse, you have probably been wondering why it has taken me so long to mention it. Naturally, I had long indulged in fantasies about whirlwind trips to New York to take in this production.  Many years ago, The Husband and I had the good fortune to see a staged version of the Tolstoy story, "Strider." it was beautifully staged and incredibly moving. It was  amazing to see Strider, the horse, so eloquently brought to life by a two-legged creature. It sounds as though it couldn't work, but believe me it did. I knew I would appreciate War Horse.

I wasn't completely surprised by the profound effectiveness of the illusion because of a previous theatre experience. Much earlier in my life, I had seen a Ballet Folklorico troupe out of Mexico City and included on the bill was a number titled "The Deer Dance." I rank that as one of my all time favorite theatre experiences. I never saw anything on stage in Los Angeles, New York, or London to top the emotional impact of the two dancers playing out the chase and ultimate demise of the deer along with the hunter's reverence for his prey.

The troupe performed in quite a large venue and when the dance ended, there was a brief moment of stunned silence, then a crowd of more than a thousand people leaped to their feet to bring down the rafters with thunderous applause that didn't want to come to an end. I lost track of the number of curtain calls. No one wanted the magic to end. The performance was wrenching, poetic, and has forever haunted my thoughts.

I have no doubts that War Horse, the stage production, would make for more wonderful memories. Of course, a cross country airplane trip now is about as realistic as climbing that peak in the Andes. But, wait! dum te dum! Steven Spielberg to the rescue!  A few weeks ago, I had read in one of the many horse magazines that come to our house that the film adaptation of the play is scheduled for release either Christmas or early next year. Theatre seats and I don't get along, so I will have to wait for a delayed gift from Mr. S. And, yes, the puppeteers from the play have been replaced by real horses, but the trailer already has my little horse-loving heart going pitty-pat.

If you haven't seen the trailer, check it out here.  I may not watch this film as many times as I have seen The Black Stallion—Caleb Deschanel's cinematography was inspired—but War Horse has made it to my must-see list.

By the way, the image here was included in the Bear Valley Springs Art Show last spring.


  1. I was wondering whether you knew of the work, I assumed you did. I can't wait, myself!

  2. Chris—I had been frustrated quite a long time knowing the stage production was out of my "reach". This eases that a bit. Of course I would still love to see the theatrical version; but, at least the movie looks quite promising.

    Thank you for commenting.

  3. I first heard of the movie last spring and have been anticipating it for quite a while. It opens 12/25/11 here, so it's right around the corner. It could be a theater movie but I usually wait for the DVD because, like you, I can't sit for 2 hours at one time.
    This photo is amazing, the lighting is so surreal. Outstanding.

  4. Ken—I was out of the loop on this until a few weeks ago. I need to pay more attention to news.

    Don't you miss seeing movies on the big screen? Boy, I certainly do. Still, a DVD on a good-sized home screen (ours isn't huge) is a decent substitute when it is the best you can do.

    I am so glad you like this one. This is one that sort of took off on it's own; but, I was happy with the outcome. The lighting feels right for this animal, his personality, and the moment. Thank you for the comment.

  5. Yes, I do miss the big screen but since I'm a huge movie fan, I can't see everything I want in the theaters. Netflix to the rescue. I can watch 3 or 4 movies every week for a reasonable amount of $$$. I like to watch movies without reading reviews beforehand since I'm perfectly capable of forming my own opinions. Sometimes the buzz for a movie is so huge it can't be ignored. Such is the case with any Spielberg movie (like War Horse). Patience is a virtue.

  6. Ken—We can't get Netflix until we get a Roku box and just haven't gotten around to it. I don't have the appetite for movies that I once did and my husband loves the old movies so much that he never gets his fill of them.

    For the first time in my life, I am content with one-hour Tv shows—a handful of them, that is. One of my new favorites is "Hell on Wheels" on AMC. The cinematography is very nice. It's not the typical network fare and appeals to me.

    Like you, I don't care to have reviewers telling me what I should think about a movie. So often I don't agree anyway, so why bother. I do worry about the ones that get a terrific amount of buzz. Can it possibly live up to all the hype? I will take a chance on this one.

  7. On Anita, this image is amazing. I'd never heard of War Horse until now. It is certainly on my list of must see movies. We just have a little independent theater here and they usually only get the B list movies, so doubtful this will come to town. And I doubt we'll be able to get to the city to see it. So it will likely be a DVD for us too......or Netflix which I think I'm going to look into.

    The Mexican Deer Dance sounds amazing. I love theater (and opera) productions. Absolutely mesmerizing for me!

  8. Roberta—We certainly won't get the movie at our local theatre on opening weekend. I grossly exaggerate for fun, but always say they rcently showed "Old Yeller" at the Tehachapi movie theatre. I am glad i was able to pass on the word to you. Let's hope Speilberg has captured some of the magic that made the stage production a runaway hit.

    I saw another rendition of "The Deer Dance" a few years later, but I am sorry to say that it paled in comparison. The first Folklorico group I saw was top-notch. The next troupe was second tier.

    Thank you for the comment on this image. I have a soft spot for it, partly because the gelding is a favorite of mine among my friend's sizable herd.

  9. Anita, that photo is magical. I love it.

  10. Paul—Thank you for that comment. Of course, I am delighted that it connects with you.

  11. Anita,
    I was vaguely aware of the new movie and totally unaware the the play 'The Deer Dance. Now both are on my radar as must sees. I wonder if the original cast did did a video of the performance. Not like being there, but may impart some of the feeling you felt.

    Your image is powerful as wonderful. Even when viewed full size I find I want to see it even larger to bath in the details which I know you enjoyed. To the left of the horses head is a specter/goblin looking present I would love to explore. Any chance of posting a larger version in your gallery?
    My best.

  12. Movie could be a tear-jerker. That is a stunning image, my friend!

  13. It's quite an astonishing photo. On my blog you said you only were a newbie, but it sure doesn't look like that. So much beautiful energy captured in the photograph. Great colours and tight cropping.


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