Movie Review: Smoky (1946)

0 Stars
Smoky (1946)

Smoky (1946)


Director: Louis King

Cast: Fred MacMurray, Anne Baxter, Bruce Cabot

Synopsis: The story of a cowboy’s love for a horse called Smoky.


WARNING! This review contains SPOILERS!

Fred MacMurray (Double Indemnity, The Absent Minded Professor)  is the cowboy with a past who takes a shine to a wild black stallion he likes to call Smoky.   So he captures the horse and devotedly sets about destroying its spirit so that he can put a saddle on its back and call it his.

OK, that might sound a little cynical, but it’s also a pretty accurate summary of what this movie is about when looked at from an adult’s point of view.   Although it’s obviously aimed at kids, the whole thing is a bit daft when you think about it.   Louis King’s direction is inadequate, and on two occasions the story has lead characters narrate what happens to Smoky – and even what Smoky’s parents are thinking! – in order to fill in gaps in the plot.   Fred’s single-minded determination to make Smoky his results in the horse ending up a knackered old nag pulling a junkyard owner’s cart around city streets instead of spending his life roaming the wild plains as nature intended.   It’s a surprise the wretched creature doesn’t shy away when he and Fred are re-united.   And if all this wasn’t bad enough, we’ve got the ‘Singing Troubador’ Burl Ives (East of Eden) popping up every ten minutes to pad out the running time with a couple of homespun folk songs.

(Reviewed 18th January 2012)




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