National Velvet

National Velvet is from 1944 and was nominated for 5 Academy Awards and won 2.


A lot of the film was shot in Pebble Beach, California, with some of the most scenic views filmed at the Pebble Beach Golf Course.


Look closely and you cansee some of the fairways in the background.

Originally,the producer of the film didn’t think Elizabeth Taylor was right for the role because of her lack of physical development.


But Taylor really wanted the part so, in addition to taking riding lessons, she began eating more and doing"chest enlargement exercises".


By the time casting was finalized, nature had given her the necessary “attributes”and she got the part.


The star horse of the film, named King Charles, had been trained as a show jumper,and his grandfather was Man o' War. Man o’ War, the grandfather of Seabiscuit, is considered the greatest racehorse ofthe first half of the 20th century.


After filming was finished, Miss Taylor,who had turned 12 during filming, was given King Charles as a birthday gift.

The film's director, Clarence Brown, owned a car dealership in Alabama before becoming adirector.

During his career, he directed or produced more than 50 widely-acclaimed movies, including this film, The Yearling, Anna Karenina and Angels in the Outfield.

He was nominated for 6 best-director Oscars, including for 2 different movies in the same year. Brown also maintained close ties with his alma mater, the University of Tennessee, donating money to build the Clarence Brown Theatre and leaving an additional $12 million dollars after his death.

 

Angela Lansbury makes only her second screen appearance as Edwina.

 

Playing Velvet’s mother is character actress Anne Revere, whose career was cut short by the communist witch hunt of the 1950s.


A direct descendant of Revolutionary Warfigure Paul Revere, she was nominated for 3 Oscars for her strong, matriarchal figures -- and won the Best Supporting award for this performance.

 

She had appeared in more than 30 films and was once treasurer of the Screen ActorsGuild. That all ended abruptly in 1951 when her name appeared as on the infamous "Hollywood blacklist".

 

She had just completed a major role, playing again with Elizabeth Taylor. But when called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, she took the Fifth Amendment and refused to name names.

 

As a result, her part in that 1951 movie was reduced to a glorified cameo and she didn’t appear in another film for nearly 20 years.

 

Donald Crisp, Velvet’s father, began his career working as a stage manager for George M. Cohan. During that time, he met and became friends with a stage actor named D.W. Griffith.

 

When Griffith went to Hollywood in 1912 to seek his fortune, Crisp went with him.

Crisp worked as Griffith’s assistant for several years and also became a director, with over 70 films to his credit.

 

But he got so sick of studio bigwigs wanting him to put their relatives in his pictures that he gave up directing and went back to acting. He won a Best Supporting Oscar for his role in How Green Was My Valley in 1942.

 

His final screen appearance was in 1963, opposite Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara in Spencer's Mountain. That film, from the Earl Hamner novel, was the basis for the TV show, The Waltons.

 

Mickey Rooney was born Joseph Yule, Jr. to a vaudeville family and began appearing onstage in 1921, at the age of 15 months, as part of his parents' routine. He got his start in film with a series of movie shorts called Mickey McGuire.

 

Through the ‘30s, ‘40s & ‘50s, he starred in 14 Andy Hardy movies, and in 1939, at age 19, he became the first teenager to be nominated for an Oscar in a leading role for Babes in Arms.

 

In 1981, he won a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his role in Bill, about  a mentally challenged man trying to live on his own.   And he recently appeared in Night at the Museum, with Ben Stiller and Dick Van Dyke.

 

Like Elizabeth Taylor, he has been married eight times. More recently, he has been in the news because of a restraining order he sought against his own stepchildren.

 

He recently testified in front of a Senate Committee on Aging about elder abuse, talking about abuse he suffered at the hands of his stepdaughter and stepson.

 

At age 91, he and his estate is currently under the conservatorship of his lawyer.


Rooney’s movie career has set an amazing Hollywood record. It is the longest in cinema history, with movie appearances stretching from 1926 to 2011, a total of 85 years.

 

Malvolia, or Mally, Brown is played by Anita Quigley, who later became a nun.

 

And notice the patron with the binoculars next to Mickey Rooney during the Grand National race. That’s a British actor named Arthur Treacher.

 

For many years, he was Hollywood's screen idea of the perfect English butler but later became better known for being attached to a fast-food chain - Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips.

 

One of the extras on the film was a man named Carl Goldbogen. Carl told his brother, Avrom, what fun the movies were and Avrom eventually became a famous movie producer.


Thirteen years later, in 1957, that producer, who had changedhis name to Michael Todd, would become Elizabeth Taylor's third husband.

 

That marriage was the only one of Taylor’s that didn’t end in divorce - Todd was killed in a plane crash 13 months after they were married.

 

She later called Todd one of the 3 great loves of her life. The other 2 were Richard Burton and jewelry.