Saturday, September 28, 2019

Sorry, not my friend

One of the movies coming up on FXM that I haven't recommended before is My Friend Flicka, which will be on tomorrow at 1:30 PM.

Roddy McDowall plays Ken McLaughlin, somewhat irresponsible son of Wyoming rancher Robert (Preston Foster) and Nell (Rita Johnson). As a sign of Ken's irresponsibility, he's gotten ridiculously poor grades in school, as if there were something worse than an F. Robert specifically raises horses, breaking them for people to ride and then selling them off, so Ken would like one of the colts as his own. Fat chance, says Dad.

But Mom thinks perhaps having a colt to take care of will be a good thing for Ken, and she eventually gets her husband to reconsider. One of the problems, however, is that the current crop of horses seems to come from decidedly poor breeding stock. If they're not going to be very good for regular adults, how is a kid like Ken going to be able to handle one?

And to make things worse, Ken falls in love with a horse that's decidedly bad for him: Flicka, son of the wild Cigarette. Cigarette is so wild that when he is taken off into town, he bucks just as the truck is passing under the ranch's sign, hitting his head and killng himself. How can Flicka be broken with a blood line like that?

And she continues to be a problem. In the corral, she runs into the barbed wire, cutting herself. Ken, and Mom take care of the original injury, and Flicka's calmness during that action convinces Ken that Flicka can be tamed. But infection sets in, forcing Dad to consider the possibility of having Flicka put down by being shot, much like Old Yeller a dozen years later.

Frankly, I wouldn't have minded if My Friend Flicka had ended with the horse getting shot, which at least would have made an interesting end to the movie. But that's not what happens. Instead, we get a mawkish ending that caps off an obnoxiously treacly movie. Ken is irritating, and it's easy to see why Dad considers him irresponsible. But we're supposed to have sympathy with Ken. The color cinematography, with Wyoming shooting locations, is nice, but it can't save a terrible plot.

Perhaps, however, kids will like such simplistic stuff, so if you've got kids you may want to record this one and watch with them. The movie is out of print on DVD, so the FXM showing is about the only way you'll catch it.

No comments: