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Hero image for Wild Horses

Wild Horses

Film (Excerpts) – 1984

Parental Guidance
Doug Bartley
Doug Bartley
25 Sep 2020 - 01.42am
Saw this in a theatre in the US back in the 80's in a neighborhood two-screen theatre that some people were attempting to make a go of with indie and second-run movies after, this being after the big multiplexes had come in and made it impossible for smaller theatres to compete with first-run films.

So, in my first attempt to see the movie, I'm running a few minutes late. Lights are on in the lobby and I can see staff in there, but the door is locked. Someone sees me and comes over and opens the door and I ask what the deal is. Nobody showed up, the guy tells me. Oh.

So the next night (last night scheduled) I go again, get there on time and - with eight or ten other people actually get to see the film. And lucky I did.

So, I'm (as a red-headed former girlfriend from Tennessee used to put it) here to tell ya - see this if you ever get the chance - it's one of my favorite films ever. I've asked various Kiwis I've encountered over the years if they know this movie and have not met one yet whose even heard of it.

Was a cab driver myself at the time so could relate to the opening scene - in Auckland, I think, where a cab driver picks up a fare, attractive stripper or something along those lines, who, it turns out he knows from the small South Island town where the rest of the story takes (took?) place several years previously.

So, the town in question is dependent on its one industry and employer - logging and a sawmill, which closes down, throwing everyone out of work. The forest land is publicly owned and managed by a government forestry agency. Could also relate to this, having seen similar situations in the Pacific Northwest of the US.

The forestry agency has a policy of attempting to eliminate non-native species, deer in particular, and when a foreign company comes in to set up a facility for commercially processing venison, a number of the laid-off workers go to work as hunters or factory workers.

Another group decide to make a go of capturing wild horses. Neither group is particularly successful at first, but the wild horse people turn to some local, what in the US would probably be termed hillbillies for help and start to have some success catching horses but eventually come into conflict with the deer hunting operation and with a secret agenda of the forestry agency to wipe out all the wild horses.

To say much more would qualify as a spoiler. Can say that the cab driver was one of the horse catchers and, IIRC, the stripper was from the hillbilly family.

Disclaimer - this is all based on memory 35 years later of a single viewing so it's possibly off in some respect or other but see this if you ever get the chance, especially if on a big screen.

Sorry the director was confused, made perfect sense to me...
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