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National Velvet (film)

National Velvet
original film poster
Directed by Clarence Brown
Produced by Pandro S. Berman
Written by Helen Deutsch
Enid Bagnold (book)
Starring Mickey Rooney
Donald Crisp
Elizabeth Taylor
Anne Revere
Angela Lansbury
Reginald Owen
Terry Kilburn
Music by Herbert Stothart
Cinematography Leonard Smith
Editing by Robert Kern
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) 14, 1944 (1944-12-14)
Running time 123 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,770,000
Gross revenue $3,678,000 (Domestic earnings)
$2,162,000 (Foreign earnings)
Followed by International Velvet.

National Velvet is a 1944 film based on the novel by Enid Bagnold, published in 1935. It stars Mickey Rooney, Donald Crisp and a young Elizabeth Taylor.

In 2003 National Velvet was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."



National Velvet is the story of a twelve-year girl, Velvet Brown, living in Sewels, in Sussex, England, who saves a horse from the knacker's yard and trains it for the Grand National steeplechase, aided by her father's hired hand, a young drifter, Mi Taylor. The fictional horse which Velvet Brown trained and rode in the National is called "The Pie." When she discovers that the Latvian jockey hired to ride the Pie doesn't believe he can win, she disguises herself as a male jockey and rides the horse to victory.


  • Mickey Rooney as Mi Taylor
  • Donald Crisp as Mr. Herbert Brown
  • Elizabeth Taylor as Velvet Brown
  • Anne Revere as Mrs. Araminty Brown
  • Angela Lansbury as Edwina Brown
  • Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins as Donald Brown
  • Juanita Quigley as Malvolia "Mally" Brown
  • Arthur Treacher as Race Patron
  • Reginald Owen as Farmer Ede
  • Norma Varden as Miss Sims
  • Terry Kilburn as Ted
  • Arthur Shields as Mr. Hallam
  • Aubrey Mather as Entry Official
  • Alec Craig as Tim
  • Eugene Loring as Ivan Taski

Production notes

An 18-year-old Gene Tierney, who was then appearing on Broadway, was offered the role of Velvet Brown in 1939. Production was delayed, however, so Tierney returned to Broadway.[1] Much of the film was shot in Pebble Beach, California, with the most scenic views on Pebble Beach Golf Links, with some golf holes visible in the background.

Elizabeth Taylor was given "The Pie" as a birthday gift after filming was over.


  • Summertime - Elizabeth Taylor and MGM Studio and Orchestra Chorus Girls / Teacher

Academy Awards

National Velvet won two Oscars in 1945:[2]


  • Best Supporting Actress - Anne Revere
  • Best Film Editing - Robert J. Kern


  • Best Director - Clarence Brown
  • Best Art Direction (color) - (Art Direction) Cedric Gibbons and Urie McCleary; (Interior Decoration) Edwin B. Willis and Mildred Griffiths
  • Best Cinematography - Leonard Smith

Other adaptations

  • National Velvet was dramatized as a one-hour radio play on the February 3, 1947 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater, with Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, Donald Crisp and Janice Scott.
  • In 1960, the film was adapted into television series which aired on NBC.
  • In 2003, a film version was made for television.


  1. Tierney and Herskowitz (1978) Wyden Books. "Self-Portrait". pg.23
  2. "NY Times: National Velvet". NY Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/34594/National-Velvet/details. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 

External links


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