JC / Railbird

Artistic License

Taking Liberties

Steve Haskin catalogs the various solecisms of “Secretariat,” including:

Penny, Lucien, and groom Eddie Sweat being in the stall for Secretariat’s birth was way too Hollywood and over the top, and was too far removed from reality for even a Disney movie; as was the jockeys for Secretariat’s first race at (“Aqueduct”) mounting and dismounting their horses in the backstretch (filmed at Evangeline Downs), directly outside the barn. That’s something you’d see in a low budget 1930’s movie. Also, the shot of Penny, Lucien, and Sweat dancing and hip-bumping and Penny washing down Secretariat with no one holding the horse were a bit too much, as was Eddie Sweat standing on the track on the eve of the big race, shouting to the heavens about what the world was about to see.

On the positive side: The “kinetic” racing scenes draw Haskin’s raves.

The Arc Is True

The Baltimore Sun talks with William Nack about “Secretariat,” the movie:

Last month, over the phone from his home in Chevy Chase, he said that “the arc of the movie is accurate. Penny took over the horse farm when her father was dying, and left her family and went East to run the career of this racehorse. It made her and her husband estranged; she had a very difficult time. But she managed to start another life. She ended up blending in well with the Establishment, and she was much admired. That is the guts of the movie — and it’s all true.”

Beyond that, Nack said, [director Randall Wallace] got the pastoral and the prickly textures right.

A neat elision, on Nack’s part, re: the details that maybe aren’t so accurate.