Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Seabiscuit [2009 film] by Stephen Ives

Seabiscuit [2009 film]

by Stephen Ives (Producer), Michelle Ferrari (Screenwriter)

Other authors: Scott Glenn (Narrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: American Experience [PBS] (15.11)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
102880,191 (3.75)None



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

English (1)  Spanish (1)  All (2)
During the Great Depression, between 1936 and 1940, one sports figure captivated fans unlike any other has in such a way since. Whether on newspaper columnist Walter Winchell’s top ten newsmakers of 1938 list, as the subject of newsreels, radio programs and a film, or the image on scores of licensed advertising products, one athlete surpassed his contemporaries. And he wasn’t even human. The racehorse Seabiscuit offered racing fans and the general public a hero to root for with whom they could identify—overworked, ungainly, plain, with a hard-luck life who fought to prove he was the best at what he could do.
Inspired by Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling book, Seabiscuit: An American Legend, this PBS documentary captures visually the story she has so richly told in print. Director Stephen Ives tells the quintessentially American story of triumph over adversity through archival film footage, black-and-white photographs, newspaper clippings, advertisements, radio broadcasts, and color home movies. He covers automotive magnate Charles Howard’s purchase of Seabiscuit for $8000, laconic trainer Tom Smith’s unorthodox training style, and journeyman jockey Red Pollard’s personal disasters and affinity for Seabiscuit. Ives includes on-camera interviews with and comments by Hillenbrand (senior creative consultant), former jockey Farrell Jones, writer Gene Smith, sportscaster Jack Whitaker, trainer Leonard Dorfman, jockey agent Gelo Hall, Red Pollard’s friend Helen Luther, and Pollard’s daughter Norah Christianson.
Seabiscuit had an unfashionable pedigree and an undistinguished racing career at ages two and three. With Howard, Smith, and Pollard the horse began to win races at age four, improving with each race. The west coast press lauded him as the “hard luck hero for a troubled nation” while the east coast racing establishment dismissed him as unworthy of notice. Because Howard raced Seabiscuit almost every week across the country, racing fans got to see him in action at the racetracks in addition to the newsreels shown in movie theaters and the weekly radio broadcasts of races. The newspapers played up his connections’ two biggest goals—winning the prestigious Santa Anita Handicap and competing in a match race with Triple Crown winner War Admiral. Seabiscuit lost his first Santa Anita Handicap because Pollard did not see an approaching horse; unknown until Hillenbrand revealed it in her book, Pollard was blind in his right eye. Had the racing commission known, he would have lost his license and livelihood. Unable to explain why he lost, Pollard quietly accepted the accusations of incompetence and vowed not to make the same mistake again. Pollard, anxious to ride additional horses, unfortunately chose the wrong times and mounts to race and was badly injured just before the Santa Anita Handicap and again before the match race. While Pollard recovered, his friend George Woolf replaced him as Seabiscuit’s jockey and trounced War Admiral at their match race in November 1938; Seabiscuit was finally named 1938 Horse of the Year. Failing to capture the Santa Anita Handicap in several attempts, the seven-year-old Seabiscuit eventually won the 1940 race after a year’s rest and recuperation from which most turfmen did not think he would return to the races.
The PBS documentary conveys the excitement of the races, and with well-chosen interviewees captures the flavor of the times, particularly the personalities of Pollard and Seabiscuit, with less attention focused on Charles Howard and taciturn Tom Smith. Strongly covered is the subcontext of the Depression and how Seabiscuit galvanized the hopes and dreams of the downtrodden. The interviewees add personal information about Pollard and a first-hand account of the match race. Rather than this documentary being about the interrelations among the owner, trainer, jockey, and horse, it focuses on the main actors on the stage—Pollard and Seabiscuit.
There is no story without drama, tension, and adversity overcome, and the story of Seabiscuit has it all. This is a good biopic of a great horse but in fifty-four minutes it only hits the highlights. It is a good visual introduction to this racing star; for a more in-depth analysis viewers will want to read Hillenbrand’s book.
  sxh36 | Apr 12, 2007 |
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ives, StephenProducerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferrari, MichelleScreenwritermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Glenn, ScottNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morgenstern, EveProducersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Originally broadcast as episode 5 of "The 1930s", part of the "American Experience"
 series on PBS in 2009.
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

While not looking the part, Seabiscuit was one of the most remarkable thoroughbred racehorses in history. In the 1930s, when Americans longed to escape the grim realities of Depression-era life, four men turned Seabiscuit into a national hero.

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.75)
1 1
4 1
5 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 125,355,065 books! | Top bar: Always visible