Rocking Horse Winner, The

Date: 1949
Director: Anthony Pelissier
Production Company: Two Cities Films

Stars: Valerie Hobson, John Howard Davies, Ronald Squire, John Mills, Hugh Sinclair
Location(s): Berkshire, Sussex

Region(s):

Storyline:

A shy, young boy escapes his mother’s incessant whining about his family’s lack of wealth after discovering that he has the ability to pick winners at the races when riding his rocking horse.

Additional Information:

Screen captures by Phil Wilkinson

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Following the serving of a writ against her, Hester Grahame (Valerie Hobson) returns home with her son Paul (John Howard Davies) after a walk. A very real looking street lined with mature trees.

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At the garden gate, Richard Grahame (Hugh Sinclair) meets his wife and son with news that he has lost his job. This is the set where much of the external action takes place.

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Paul enjoys a morning at the beach with his Uncle Oscar away from his money squandering mother and gambling father.

After Paul tells him about the house ‘whispering’ the names of race winners, Oscar takes his nephew to Goodwood for the afternoon. No question about it say Ray and Ron Glenister, this is Goodwood Racecourse in Sussex, West Sussex since 1974.

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Ray and Ron Glenister add that the buildings appear in a 1905 postcard which is reproduced here with the kind permission of Peter Whitcomb and www.gravelroots.net (RL)

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A Policeman keeps an eye on the punters as Paul’s Uncle purchases tickets for the enclosure.

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Paul scans the grandstand through the wrong end of Oscar’s binoculars.

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The youngster tells his Uncle that Daffodil with win the next race. Goodwood Racecourse on Selhurst Park Road to the north of Chichester confirmed by Ray and Ron Glenister.

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Horses and riders parade before the next race. Goodwood Racecourse near Chichester, Sussex.

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Hester arrives by taxi at a tailors shop in a seedy part of town to sell items of clothing in order to pay a Bailiff who’s waiting back at home. Reel Street or studio set?

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Although disagreeing with the prediction, Oscar Cresswell (Ronald Squire) smiles at his nephew before placing a £20 bet on Daffodil for each of them.

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As Daffodil wins the race, Hester leaves the basement shop dissapointed by the price offered by Mr. Tsaldouris and walks home after noticing the rising cab fare. This has the appearance of a set with a street scene backcloth.

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On a late summer day, Paul and his Uncle relax by the river after placing a £1000 bet on Lively Spark in the Leger. On the Thames near Cookham in Berkshire.

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A steamer approaches with a radio broadcast of the race playing through its loudspeaker system. The background boathouse belongs to Riversdale House to the south of Bourne End on the River Thames.

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Just as the race ends the steamer’s whistle blows, drowning out the winner of the race. Looking across the Thames towards the property named Waterside the Buckinghamshire bank.

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Outside the house where Mr. and Mrs. Grahame are attending a party, their manservant Bassett (John Mills) discusses the upcoming Epsom Derby with a fellow Chauffeur (Johnnie Schofield). Again, this is likely to be a set.