Video: A Special New Year’s Evening at the Roots and the Heart of War Horse

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As a special New Year’s treat, enjoy this 48-minute video of War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and War Horse musical maestro John Tams on stage, taped in Toronto earlier this month. They tell stories of the origin and concept of War Horse, they sing the great War Horse hymn “Only Remembered”, and they sink into their comfortable chairs like two old friends at the fireside. All that’s needed is a chorus of Auld Lang Syne, but you can sing that one yourselves.

If you want to understand and appreciate War Horse, you’ll have to look beyond the way Joey twitches his ears, beyond the blue of Tom Hiddleston’s eyes and even beyond the landscape of No Man’s Land. Somewhere, over the horizon, is the fertile mind and tender heart of the man who conceived of War Horse.

War Horse News small gold logo badgeMichael Morpurgo is a writer whose vision and passion has not been lost in the crazy celebrity of his creation. Thanks to sensitive and artistic producers of both the play and the movie interpretations of War Horse, the story has only been intensified, albeit in two very different ways.

Both productions are very quick to give credit to Morpurgo and pay homage to his brilliant and seemingly-simple story.

If you haven’t read the original book version of War Horse, please do. You can read it in a few hours, and the story has enough different characters and situations from the play or film that you’ll be intrigued.

This video begins with Michael Morpurgo reading the foreword to his book, War Horse.

It’s all here: horses, history, art, children’s books, Spielberg, Handspring Puppets, American hymns turned anti-war songs–and it’s all for you.

It will introduce you to the author better than any video I can post here, but this YouTube video is a must-see for anyone who wants to understand or share the “Big Picture” of War Horse. I hope it will play on forever, and that the “Big Picture” will get even bigger.

This video is provided by the Mirvish Theater group in Toronto, which is staging the War Horse play, opening in February 2012.

Why You Need to See War Horse This Week: First-week Stats Help Future Horse Movies

The Horsey Set‘s Rhonda Lane is back as the raconteur-du-jour here on War Horse News. Today Rhonda admonishes all you wait-and-see types to get-thee-to-the-cinema because War Horse‘s first-week stats and gross box office income can effect studios’ sentiments toward producing more horse-related films! Over to you, Rhonda!

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For people who want to see more horses in the movies, the opening week of War Horse, directed by Hollywood visionary Steven Spielberg, is an excellent opportunity.

War Horse News small gold logo badgeThanks to War Horse and Mr. Spielberg, horses are in the mass media spotlight right now. Maybe they’re not actually on the red carpet, but they are in the forefront of cultural consciousness–for once–at some time other than Kentucky Derby week.

This is our chance to show that good movies about horses will draw crowds and make money.

Mr. Spielberg met us halfway by making an excellent movie. So, I think we horse people should look at our calendars to pick out an afternoon or evening this weekend to grab our tissues and go see War Horse during its first full weekend at the box office.

(Or, in the case of many, go see it again. And bring some friends.)

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Can Joey help War Horse leap the box office barricades and gallop off with impressive stats?

The “Bean Counters” who determine our choices for entertainment want to see who’s thirsting to see a movie, according to the blog post “Who Comes on Opening Night?”by marketing guru Seth Godin.

Maybe you’ve noticed, after watching the obligatory weekly Sunday night newsbreaks, that the movie that has the biggest opening of the weekend is mentioned in the financial news report, along with the amount of money made. The “Powers That Be” in entertainment make their decisions about what we’ll see in the future in large part based on the numbers they see during those few days after a movie opens.

We’ve all remarked at one time or another about how we wanted to see a movie but that it left theaters before we had a chance to go. The old rules of “I’ll wait to go see it” don’t apply anymore, not if we want to see more of a particular kind of entertainment.

So, if we want to see more horses in the movies, we need to make time to go see “War Horse” and as soon as we can. How about this weekend?

A PS from War Horse News: Rhonda Lane is, as usual, so right! NASDAQ’s film income forecast today validated everything she said and had this comment about War Horse’s predicted box office: Heading into its first full weekend, Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” also should be one of the biggest benefactors of a lack of new releases. Backed by some steady critical buzz, “War Horse” is expected to be a major contender at the upcoming Academy Awards, though a lot of that will depend on how it does commercially over the next couple of weekends. “War Horse” might be too heavy for some audiences this weekend, but an intake in the $10 to $12 million range still seems likely.

Rhonda Lane, The Horsey Set

Playbill.com listed War Horse as #7 last week, which is pretty wonderful, considering it only had one day’s income to report. The site also tells us: The highest-grossing film of the (Christmas) weekend was “Mission: Impossible,” which earned $29,500,000. Others in the top 10 include “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked,” “The Adventures of Tintin, “We Bought a Zoo,” “New Year’s Eve,” “The Darkest Hour” and “The Muppets.”

War Horse took in $7,515,402 at the box office on Christmas Day, according to boxofficemojo.com.

Rhonda Lane writes one of my favorite blogs, The Horsey Set. She is a native of Kentucky who now lives and writes in Connecticut. She’s currently working on a mystery novel. Follow Rhonda on Twitter (I do!): @RhondaLane

Be brave! Entrench yourself in WAR HORSE NEWS on the web: 1) Bookmark WarHorseBlog.com; 2) Grab the RSS feed; 3) Follow @WarHorseNews on Twitter; 4) “Like” the War Horse News page on Facebook; 5) Circle War Horse News on Google +. Leave your questions and comments here on the blog and we’ll try to help you! WAR HORSE NEWS is written for moviegoers, horse lovers and history buffs by horse-specialist journalist Fran Jurga and hosted by Equisearch.com.

War Horse Stars: Children’s Books Really Do Impact Our Adult Lives–Just Ask the Cast!

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This mini-video from DreamWorks takes War Horse in a new direction.

Maybe, as Grandfather so eloquently suggests in the film, we can “never look down…” but we can look back.

Many of Steven Spielberg’s cast members had personal connections to the War Horse story, either because they lost family members in World War I and grew up with that legacy, or because they read War Horse (the book) by Michael Morpurgo when they were children.

War Horse News small gold logo badgeAnd then, there they were, acting War Horse out on the screen.

Jeremy Irvine (Albert), Tom Hiddleston (Captain Nicholls) and David Kross (Gunther) remember what books they read as children, from Sendak to Saint-Exupery to Tolkein and Fitzgerald.

(Tom Hiddleston was one very sophisticated little boy! The British actor who played Captain Nicholls read The Great Gatsby when he was very young and then went on to play Fitzgerald in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.)

But they all remember War Horse. And so will you.

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Be brave! Entrench yourself in WAR HORSE NEWS on the web: 1) Bookmark WarHorseBlog.com; 2) Grab the RSS feed; 3) Follow @WarHorseNews on Twitter; 4) “Like” the War Horse News page on Facebook; 5) Circle War Horse News on Google +. Leave your questions and comments here on the blog and we’ll try to help you! WAR HORSE NEWS is written for moviegoers, horse lovers and history buffs by horse-specialist journalist Fran Jurga and hosted by Equisearch.com.

We’re Behind You, Major Stewart: “Keep Calm and Be Brave” T-shirts

Major Stewart (played by Sherlock Holmes actor Benedict Cumberlatch) would approve! This is a t-shirt sold on etsy.com and is a mixed metaphor of "Keep calm and carry on"(a British homefront slogan from World War II) and Major Stewart's advice to his cavalry troop as they launched the famous cavalry charge in the War Horse film. It's actually not half-bad advice...

The War Horse App Is Ready for Your iPad!

Joey and Geordie leave No Man's Land behind

Do you love War Horse? There's an app for that...

DreamWorks has released the interactive War Horse iPad app to enrich your experience of the film.

“What kind of an app?”

“A miraculous kind of an app, be my guess.”

The War Horse app–which is compatible with iPads equipped with iOS 3.2 or later, can be downloaded from iTunes. And it’s free!

The app gives important technical and production details about the film.

Content of the app includes what you’d expect–trailers, a photo gallery, and film information–but it also has a terrific interactive map of England and France, showing the locations where the film was set.  There is also a film times and showing information facet that will make it easy for you to find or recommend a screening anywhere in the world!

Joey's map of the world is interactive in the War Horse iPad app.

This app apparently only works on an Apple iPad but if you don’t have one, you surely know someone who does–and it’s a free download.

Your War Horse iPad App download is just a click away!

All photos in this post are © DreamWorks II Distribution.

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Be brave! Entrench yourself in WAR HORSE NEWS on the web: 1) Bookmark WarHorseBlog.com; 2) Grab the RSS feed; 3) Follow @WarHorseNews on Twitter; 4) “Like” the War Horse News page on Facebook; 5) Circle War Horse News on Google +. Leave your questions and comments here on the blog and we’ll try to help you! WAR HORSE NEWS is written for moviegoers, horse lovers and history buffs by horse-specialist journalist Fran Jurga and hosted by Equisearch.com.