'The Black Stallion'

Kegasus may be an amusing promotional gag. But if you want to rediscover the mythic magic of man and horse, drink in the sequences of Carroll Ballard's masterpiece when the shipwrecked boy hero (Kelly Reno) befriends and manages to ride a magnificent (also shipwrecked) horse who has fire in his eyes and smoke bellowing from his nostrils. Their bond is supernatural, telepathic. In one inspired moment, they really do appear to join their bodies as a centaur. As they gambol through spectacular landscapes, they suggest how Adam and the animals helped each other out before the Fall, or how the gods and their creatures played together in the Golden Age. And, miraculously, the boy and his stallion bring their touch of Eden back to "civilization" -- in this case, the outskirts of a small, industrialized U.S. city, circa 1949, where a grizzled ex-jockey (Mickey Rooney) runs a horse farm. --Mike Sragow
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