Making the Grades
While some men may hold horses in the same esteem as faithful dogs, there is a certain percentage of the female population that is inexplicably smitten with them. I have a couple of sisters afflicted with this malady, best described as an appreciation for their exquisite appearance mixed with a tomboyish delight at the prospect of mucking-out stables. Coupling this sentimentality with the tried and true formula of a love story (which the majority of female audiences appreciate) and breath-taking scenery, The Man From Snowy River put Australian film-making on the map, and added Aussie-mania to my siblings' list of symptoms.
You won't find a better example of a horse-enamored female than Jessica Harrison (Sigrid Thornton), the daughter of a wealthy cattle rancher (Kirk Douglas). Although her father is trying to make a lady out of her, Jessica is anxious to be involved in the breaking-in of a newly purchased and very expensive colt. When Dad and the men leave on a cattle drive, Jessica is quick to solicit the horse sense of Jim Craig (Tom Burlinson), a young man from the mountainous Snowy River area who was forced to look for work in the lowlands after his father was killed in an accident. Disappointed at being left behind to look after the domestic chores, Jim is not hard to convince. But their mutual love for horses is not the only thing that grows as they spend time together.
When their secret training sessions are interrupted by a mob of brombies (wild horses), the valuable animal suffers some minor injures which Harrison notices after he returns. His anger over the recklessness that endangered the colt drives the equally short-tempered Jessica to leave home. She heads up into the mountains looking for Jim, where she discovers her father has his own secrets.
The Man From Snowy River is full of beautiful music, slow motion shots, heroic riding, and characters capable of taming the wildest of horses. Although containing some mild profanities, a bunk house brawl that breaks out after accusations regarding Jim's relationship with Jessica, and sexual innuendo uttered mostly by a gold-miner named Spur (also played by Kirk Douglas) who refers to his claim as an unfaithful woman, this film displays enough horse dazzle to satisfy any equine romantic--including my sisters.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Man From Snowy River.
Mr. Harrison lived with some nagging doubts. He also chose to keep secrets from Jessica. How did his fears and lack of honesty interfere with the relationship he shared with his daughter?
Jim was very determined to capture the mob of wild brombies, even though his father and Spur cautioned him against this course of action. What did his stubborn determination cost him? Was he right to keep trying?