News / Arts & Entertainment

    'Secretariat' Tells Inspiring Story of Triple Crown Winner

    (L-R) Diane Lane, Nelsan Ellis, Otto Thorwarth, John Malkovich in a scene from "Secretariat"
    (L-R) Diane Lane, Nelsan Ellis, Otto Thorwarth, John Malkovich in a scene from "Secretariat"

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Only a few horses have won the Triple Crown, three grueling thoroughbred races held every spring. Some four decades ago, one horse who did achieve that pinnacle of American racing became a national hero, along with the woman who owned and believed in him, against all odds. Their inspiring story gets the Hollywood treatment in a new film from Walt Disney.  Here's a look at Secretariat.



    "Horse racing is unforgiving for housewives."

    "It's like every other multi-million dollar gamble we housewives make every day."

    Penny Chenery was a housewife and mother in Denver, Colorado in the 1960's; but when her father's ailing health threatened the future of her family's Virginia horse breeding farm, Penny took it over, stubbornly determined to put the business back on its feet. All she needed was one winning horse …and she got that in a chestnut red colt born on the farm in 1969.

    "You're in a rough spot so I'll buy that horse of yours, right now: seven million dollars, all cash."
    "If he does what I think he'll do, his value will double, if not triple."
    "Eight million."
    "No."
    "You're that stubborn."
    "I'm that right."

    Diane Lane in a scene from "Secretariat"
    Diane Lane in a scene from "Secretariat"

    By the time he was three years old, the thoroughbred nicknamed "Big Red, but formally called "Secretariat," would earn a place in American horse racing history. So too did Penny Chenery, as one of the few women among the owners of horse racing stables. Diane Lane plays her in the film and says she learned about the character first-hand.

    "First of all, it was very surreal to spend time with the real Penny Chenery because, invariably, it is unusual to spend time with somebody that you are going to be bringing to the screen," noted Lane. "It raises the stakes. I really personally wanted to make it a gratifying experience for her.

    Diane Lane and John Malkovich in a scene from "Secretariat"
    Diane Lane and John Malkovich in a scene from "Secretariat"

    "I don't think that Penny ever took on or saw herself in a vainglorious manner at all representing any gender or any generation. It was, rather, a timeless story from her point of view of her family business and what needed to be done to save it," added Lane. "So I take a page from her book and salute her for not letting this become an issue, but more one for the history books for people to, with the patina of time, say 'well, there is a hero.' "

    John Malkovich plays Lucien Laurin, the horse trainer who, at Penny's urging - and guided by her unflagging faith in him - pushes Secretariat on to victory.

    Movies about horse racing have been done before; for instance, in 2003, the Depression-era hero Seabiscuit was the subject of a hit film. So Secretariat director Randall Wallace says he set out to show the grueling and sometimes dangerous sport from a different perspective.

    Director Randall Wallace on the set of the movie
    Director Randall Wallace on the set of the movie

    "I understood about this movie from the beginning that we had to experience these races as participants, not as observers," Wallace explained. "That required that we shoot the movie in a way no horseracing movie had ever been shot …with an approach of filming where you are subjectively in the race. You are not seeing what it is like to have watched "Secretariat" run; you experience what was it like to run like "Secretariat." There is a world of difference in that and we had to understand what it was like for the characters when they were alone. Some of the most evocative moments in this movie, for me, are when the characters are by themselves."

    Wallace put the viewer "in the races" by shooting them with lightweight video cameras mounted right on the horses. Of course, horse racing fans know the results of the 1973 season when "Secretariat" won the Triple Crown; but director Wallace contends there is still suspense and a sense of religious exultation about the outcome of the film.

    Otto Thorwarth (2nd from left) in a scene from "Secretariat"
    Otto Thorwarth (2nd from left) in a scene from "Secretariat"

    "In all of my other films - Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, Man In The Iron Mask - along with courage and honor there is a sense of tragedy," Wallace said. "This was a movie in which it is unalloyed joy that glories in love and courage."

    Secretariat reinforces that religious tone with lines from the biblical book of Job at the beginning and the 1969 hit version of the Christian hymn "Oh Happy Day" at its climax. The book Secretariat: The Making of A Champion by journalist Bill Nack is among the sources for the script by Mike Rich.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.