Title: Misty (1961; G)
Director: James B. Clark
Major Themes: Horses, Chincoteague Island
Synopsis: Two children want to buy a wild horse—but will they have enough time to raise the money before the annual round-up?
Based on the book Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry, the movie Misty is a lovely story about two children and a horse.
One day while visiting the island of Assateague with their grandfather, Paul and Maureen spot a beautiful horse that could only be the legendary Phantom. She is the horse their father had wanted to catch and own. However, the Phantom has always evaded the yearly roundup, and no one has been able to claim her in the three years since she was first spotted. Together, the two children hatch a plan to raise the $100 needed to buy the Phantom, and over the next several months they do as many jobs as they can to earn the money. It isn’t easy—will they be able to earn enough in time? And even if they do, will the Phantom be caught this time?
Misty seemed to follow along with the plot of the book fairly well. It did drag in a few places (there were a few elements that were there, but didn’t really need to be), but overall it’s still a lovely story. The original ending in the book was shortened for the movie, but even so it was still satisfying.
I really enjoyed the time period of the film. It was made in the 60s, and as such it felt fairly “real”. The part about the round-up, especially, was quite interesting, and at one point someone is shown using a radio phone! There were several funny bits in the story—such as the time when Grandma was seen pushing Misty out of the kitchen. And even Mom, who normally doesn’t like movies based on books, thought it was a fairly good film (which, if you know her, is saying a lot!). My one-year-old sister, too, liked the movie—she loved seeing the horses!
WARNING: The word “gee” (a euphemism for Jesus) was used repeatedly throughout the movie. There were also occasionally other words like “darn” used that we don’t appreciate.
Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Friendly