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Unbridled. Unbroken. Unbeaten.

Cast | Articles | DVD | Classic Lines | Interviews | News | Notes | Pictures | Script to Screen | Summary - Official | My Summary | My Review | Trailers | The True Story of Hidalgo

Cast

Character Actor
Major Davenport Malcolm McDowell
Frank T. Hopkins  Viggo Mortensen
Hidalgo KT
Sheikh Riyadh Omar Sharif
Jazira Zuleikha Robinson
Aziz Adam Alexi-Malle
Lady Anne Davenport Louise Lombard
Sakr Adoni Maropis
Prince Bin al Reeh Saïd Taghmaoui
Katib Silas Carson
Yusuf Harsh Nayyar
Buffalo Bill Cody J.K. Simmons
Rau Rasmussen Victor Talmadge
Jaffa Peter Mensah
Annie Oakley Elizabeth Berridge
Chief Eagle Horn Floyd 'Red Crow' Westerman
Preston Webb C. Thomas Howell
Military Cistern Lieutenant Steven Rimkus
Texas Jack Olmohundro Frank Collison
Nate Salisbury Jerry Hardin
First Soldier Chris Owen
Major Whitside George Gerdes
Wild West Performer Joseph J. Dawson
Officer at Horse Corral John Prosky
Camel Skinner Marshall Manesh
Saloon Gal Beverly Graham
Bedouin Rider Adam Ozturk
Black Coyote David Midthunder
Madam in Saloon Francesca Poston
Cattleman Michael Canavan
Corporal at Wounded Knee Todd Kimsey 
Sentry at Wounded Knee Dave Florek
Sergeant at Wounded Knee Jeff Kober
Call to Prayer Singer Sam Sako
Tower Boy Te'Amir Sweeney
Ghost Dance Singer Jake Miller
Frank's Mother Kimberly Norris
Bar Cowboy Jonathan Passow
Ghostdancer Shawn Michael Perry
Madam in Saloon Francesca Poston

Directed by Joe Johnston
Written by John Fusco

Articles

New equine movie blockbuster
Isobel Walsh 2/20/04 Horse and Hound UK
    The true story of the "Ocean of Fire" 3,000-mile endurance race across the Arabian Desert is to be told on the silver screen in early summer
    In the wake of Seabiscuit comes another star-studded story of equine heroism. Based on the true story of the greatest long-distance horse race ever run, Hidalgo is the epic tale of one man's journey of personal redemption.
    The Ocean of Fire was a 3,000-mile survival race across the Arabian Desert, which was held annually for centuries. It was a challenge restricted to the finest Arabian horses, bred from the purest and noblest lines, and owned by the greatest royal families.
    In 1890, for the first time in the race's history, an American and his horse (Frank T. Hopkins and Hidalgo) were invited by a wealthy Sheikh to participate in the race. A cowboy and his Mustang were to pit their wits and endurance against those of the world's greatest Arabian horses.
    The Ocean of Fire becomes not only a matter of pride and honor, but also a race for survival.
Lord of the rings star, Viggo Mortensen, who plays Frank T. Hopkins, says: "Ultimately, the film is a classic hero's journey. What's really interesting about the Ocean of Fire race is that it doesn't really matter who wins in the end. It's a question of getting through it, and what happens to a person as a result of going through that experience."
    The film is directed by Joe Johnston, who made his name with Jurassic Park and Jumaniji, as well as the more intimate October Sky.
    Johnston says: "I was captivated by the character of Frank Hopkins, his partnership with a half-wild Spanish Mustang, and his story of a man coming to terms with his heritage, his denial and ultimate acceptance of who he is."
    Producers drew on Rex Peterson's experience as a trainer. He worked on The Horse Whisperer, Black Beauty and The Black Stallion. Peterson spent three months searching for the equine hero, although ultimately there were five horses playing Hidalgo. A further 800 horses were used in the film as Hidalgo's Arabian counterparts.
    The film, which also stars Omar Sharif, Zuleikha Robinson and Malcolm McDowell, is to be released on the 5/3/04.

Classic Lines

Not so classic, but all of MM's dialog.

In the stateroom: "Ice is a precious commodity in Arabia my friend. My gin might go warm for the sake of your misfortune. Major actually, Major Davenport yes. Oh, I believe you already know my wife, Lady Anne. She tells me you put on quite a Wild West display down there in steerage. Splendid. He is the real item isn't he? Have you ever killed any red Indians. Lady Davenport has lived among the Bedouins. (Laughs) She's fluent Arabic and Kurdistani. And what is the African dialect? Oh, Mustang? Mixed...hmm. I find him rather ingenuous and charming, don't you Annie?"

From the deck of the ship: "Win one for the crown Annie!"

DVD

Widescreen of Fullscreen versions. Released on 8/3/04
Cover scan. Features:

Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 
Surround Sound: English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound - French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound - Spanish 
THX- Mastered Audio 
Featurette - 1. Making of  Sand & Celluloid
2. America's First Horse: Hildalgo and the Spanish Mustang
Interactive Menus 
Scene Access

Interviews

3/5/04 About.com with Viggo Mortensen

News

1/23/04

Mortensen learned to ride horses growing up in Argentina and refined his skills during the making of "Lord of the Rings." While making "Hidalgo," Mortensen became so fond of his equine co-star that he adopted the horse and now boards him near his Los Angeles home. If this film hits, Mortensen may graduate to undisputed A-list status by proving he can draw at the box office without any help from "The Lord of the Rings."

Notes

Pictures

Movie
3/1 premiere - MM with Omar Sharif

Large picture of Frank, Lady Davenport and Major Davenport sitting in the stateroom

Malcolm sitting from the trailer
Preview picture

Memorabilia
VHS Screener - Front

VHS Screener - Back

Pennsylvania Sneak Preview Ad
Junior Novelization - Front Cover

Junior Novelization - Back Cover

Script to Screen

There are quite a few differences between the screenplay and the final film. 
(M) = Movie, (S) = Script.

  1. The trailer and ads say "Based on a True Story". This isn't really a true story. They list it a little better when the movie starts as "Based on the life of Frank T. Hopkins". (M)

  2. Frank asks the army courier if he is sending congratulations from Miles. He says no and Frank says he didn't think so. (S)

  3. Frank explains to the Indian woman at Wounded Knee in Lakota that they are being moved before she is pushed down by a solider. (S)

  4. After the massacre moat soldiers were upset and some were throwing up. (S)

  5. Buffalo Bill introduces the Chief as a savage and the Chief asks Frank what he said calling him the Far Rider in their first scene and Frank lies and the Chief knows it. (S)

  6. When the chief enters the arena the first time he is booed and pelted with food. (M)

  7. On the train Buffalo Bill talks to his accountant and the accountant wants to cut costs by hiring actors instead of real wild west people. This leads to a second scene when the chief is talking to Buffalo Bill and he tells the accountant he won't replace a real Indian with a painted bum. He also offers the chief oyster stew. (S)

  8. Annie Oakley is the one who yells it is the wounded soldier trick to Buffalo Bill and is shown doing her shooting demonstration for a few seconds. (M)

  9. Buffalo Bill is bald and wears a hat with fake long hair. (S)

  10. Buffalo Bill at first thinks the Arabs want to have Al-Hattal in his show. He is also insulted that they tell him how to run his show. (S)

  11. When the Arabs leave Buffalo Bill's tent he tells Frank he doesn't think they meant him not entering the race was a compliment. (M)

  12. Annie is upset with Frank for his drinking. He says he can handle it here in Cleveland. She says that is great because they are in Boston. (M)

  13. When the chief goes to talk to Frank after the show he hands him a pendant with the logo of the Lakota tribe. He tells him until he finds himself he is neither Indian or white man. (M)

  14. The chief tells Frank he didn't know what the Wounded Knee orders he was carrying said and didn't blame him for it. (S)

  15. Frank makes up his mind that he will race again after the chief's talk and puts up the entry fee himself. (S)

  16. Frank is checking on Hidalgo in his stall as the train is heading out of New York. Annie Oakley gives him a bag with the silver for their entry fee. She tells him 100 of them kicked in $10 each, but the chief put in $20. She says to go over there and make them proud. (M)

  17. Frank and Hidalgo jump off the train and Annie sees this and points it out to the others. (M)

  18. Frank is sleeping on the ship when he hears the cries of Hidalgo and goes to investigate. (M)

  19. In the script one of the head sailor hits Frank in the back of head with a wrench, in the movie he is hit in the face with a shovel and receives a black eye.

  20. Major Davenport tells Frank that the horses he is racing against are the best Arabians in the world and if the heat of the desert doesn't drive him mad in the day the freezing cold of the night will kill him. (S)

  21. Frank and Hidalgo disembark the ship only to find themselves in the midst of camels and children fascinated by the cowboy. They are led to a tent city where Frank sees the sheikh's majestic horse. It is the biggest one he has ever seen and the prince riding it is putting on a show. He is there to win the hand of the the sheikhs' daughter in marriage, but she isn't interested. She tells her father she wants to ride in the race even though it is forbidden. (S)

  22. Frank tells the sheikh he isn't good with money and the sheikh tells him the desert is the great leveler. In the film Frank stands when he sees Jazira in front of him. In the script he turns and sees her and removes his hat. (S)

  23. The sheikh says he will win and Frank has two days to prepare himself and he is now under the sheiks' protection. The sheikh asks Frank what the most he has ever won in a race was and he says $3000. The sheikh says the race is about honor and he has never lost. When he mentions the prize money in the Ocean of Fire Frank is visibly shocked. (S)

  24. The first night Frank sleeps under the stars with Yusuf nearby snoring like a sick camel. Frank hears an intruder coming, but they have already stolen Hildago by the time he wakes up. He runs after them and whistles for Hidalgo who breaks free and comes back to him. He throws a lasso and is able to catch the thief before they can get away. When he pulls him in Frank is shocked to see it is Jazira, the sheikh's daughter and she is beautiful, having only seen her with her veil on before. She tells him she just wanted to make sure Hidalgo could handle a ride in the desert. He doesn't really believe her since he is racing against her father. She gives him a map and tells him the best route, not to fear the locusts and who to avoid. She says she can't understand how he has a chance though since her father's horse is the best. He doesn't understand, but knows she is special since Hidalgo trusted her. She confesses she is the stable master and is better than the men at talking to the horses, but is given no chance since she is a woman. Frank doesn't understand the Arabs ways though. Jazira's big black bodyguard Jaffa finds her and tells her they must go back or risk bodily harm and she goes.  (S)

  25. Frank investigates the area around the tents and feels the sand. Yusuf comes up to him and gives him all kinds of dire warnings and Frank wants him to go away. The man explains that he was the sheikh's goat herder and was caught stealing milk. His punishment was either to be Frank's assistant or have his hand cut off. There is also a black slave boy who helps out and Frank has them both get Hidalgo water. (M)

  26. Frank catches Yusuf going through his things and hears him playing his harmonica and tells him to get out of his stuff. Yusuf finds the Lakota pendant and asks if that is his countries logo. Frank says it is as good as any and Yusuf comes back later with a flag he made with the logo on it. (M)

  27. In the script the old man reads the rules in front of the horses. In the film there is a ceremony where the gun that starts the race is brought up a giant parapet by many men on a ladder. The old man is up there when he reads the rules and fires the gun with some help.

  28. After the starting gun in the script the others laugh when they see Frank is a quarter mile behind. In the movie the mad race at the beginning was just for show and once they are out of the sight of the crowd all the horses ahead move at only a brisk walk and Frank comments it was all for show.

  29. After the first horse falls the man doesn't want Frank's help and he watches in horror as the man takes his own life by impaling himself on his sword. (S)

  30. At the halfway point Jazira tells Frank everything she knows abut the other horses in the race, but that Hidalgo is special. (S)

  31. When Frank is captured he tells the sheikh that his daughter knows about horses and he tells her not to listen since she is just a woman. He understands the reference to the OK Corral when Frank mentions it. The sheikh then decides punishment will be carried out after the race. (S)

  32. The prince gets to a watering hole first where six British soldiers are guarding it. He bribes them to make it look like it is empty so Frank won't get any water. Frank arrives and they tell him the well is dry, but he sees remnants of water in a trough. He tells the commander it is a waste to have six soldiers guard and empty well. The commander is getting angry and tells him to get on his way. Frank makes like he is leaving, but knows they won't survive without the water and walks back and startles their camel and knocks their tent over on top of them. The camel runs and pulls up the water bag from the well and Frank whistles for Hidalgo. He runs over and jumps on his back with the water as the men are trying to get out of the tent. By the time they do they are too far away for a good shot. (M)

  33. The sheikh's nephew Katib comes to the sheikh because he wants to share in the families breeding secrets. The sheikh is not interested in sharing because he feels the nephew is just a worthless raider and asks if he thinks a horseshoe would stand up in the pot (references his conversation with Frank). Katib tells him Mohammad was a raider once and the sheikh says it is blasphemy. He wants nothing to do with him and sends him away. (M)

  34. Frank lets the sheikh handle his pistol and be bribes the sheikh with stories of the old west to spare his life. (S)

  35. Jaffa says if anything happens to Jazira the sheikh will have his eyes. After she is captured he offers his eyes for his disgrace. (S)

  36. The sheikh tells Frank if he brings Jazira back all will be forgiven. Frank asks about the race and he says he will let him back in. (S)

  37. Katib has Jazira chained up and assures her that her father will come to his senses and turn over al-Hattal. She says he will not do it from where held nearby. When there is a commotion outside he leaves the breeding book on a table nearby, but she can't reach it. (M)

  38. In the script the bredding book is hidden in a trunk under an altar when she goes back. In the movie it is right where Katib left it on the table.

  39. In the script Jaffa fights to the death and as he is dying he takes Aziz by the throat and kills him. In the movie Aziz shoots him in the back and Jaffa throws a spear that impales him as he is dying.

  40. After Frank returns Jazira the sheikh is thrilled and Frank is back in the race. The sheikh says Iraq will claim all the riders but two. After that, maybe none will survive. Frank isn't worried. (S).

  41. Lady Anne tells Frank that the breeding and the Bedouins are are her legacy and it is what her father and grandfather spent their lives trying to accomplish. When the offer of money doesn't sway him she puts on music and offers her body to him, but he goes back to his tent alone. (M)

  42. Lady Anne doesn't want Katib to kill Frank because he rejected her sexual advances. (M)

  43. Jazira tells Frank that the locusts are a blessing, hinting they can be eaten and Frank remembers this when they arrive. (S)

  44. When Sakr goes into the quicksand he only asks Frank to give him his scimitar to finish himself off and he does only that. (S)

  45. At the ambush point Katib's men shoot at the horses to spook them. (M)

  46. After falling in the pit Katib tells Frank desert law must allow him to shoot his own horse. (S)

  47. Frank heats up his knife to cauterize the wound on Hidalgo. (M)

  48. While planning on shooting Hidalgo Frank hears something in the distance and finally realizes it is Sakr's falcon. He puts the gun down and sees the falcon drop something nearby. It is an oyster, which means the ocean was nearby. Hidalgo even got up for he too now smells the salty air and knows the race is almost over. (S)

  49. During the last miles the Kurd riding Lady Anne's horse stabs the horse to drive it back into second place. (S)

  50. There is a postscript about Frank and his life and the descendants of Hidalgo. (M)

Summary - Official

    The film is based on the true story of Frank T. Hopkins, probably the greatest long-distance endurance rider. He honed his horse-handling skills while he was a dispatch rider in the United States Army and as a specialty rider in Buffalo Bill's Wild West shows. He was internationally known for the quality of horses he rode. One Paint mustang in particular got a lot of attention: Hidalgo.
    Hopkins was approached by a freighter named Rau Rasmussen to enter the horse in a 3,000-mile endurance race called the Ocean of Fire across the Arabian desert. Hopkins accepted the challenge. They completed the race in 68 days and beat the nearest competitor by 33 hours. Hidalgo was the only American Paint mustang in the history of Arabian endurance racing ever to win the historic race.

My Summary

    The story starts in 1890 in the American West in the snow during a cross-country horse race. Frank T. Hopkins is racing on his horse Hidalgo and is saving his speed until the end. His only real competitor is Preston Webb who is currently in the lead. Preston stops to groom himself so he looks good at the finish line. When Frank passes Preston by he accuses him of cheating and refuses to lose. Frank is not worried as he pours the speed on in the home stretch and easily crosses the finish line in first place in Rapid City, South Dakota.
    Afterwards the racers are hanging out in the town saloon. Preston is quite upset with Frank because he thinks he is the better man. He goes over to him and insults him and then his horse. Frank won't stand for it and he diverts his attention by tossing a coin in the air and then punches him in the face. Just then a private in the army comes over to him. He has a job for Frank, since he is also in the army part time, which requires him to deliver official orders as quickly as possible to the commander at Wounded Knee Creek. Frank knows the fun is over and heads off.
    When he arrives he finds 350 Indians are down in the creek and their chief is dying. They are completely surrounded by the US Cavalry. Frank gives the sealed message to the Major in charge and finds out what is happening. The Indians are praying to their ancestors in a Ghost Dance and the army thinks it is an uprising. Frank speaks the Lakota language and tells them otherwise, but they won't listen. An Indian woman comes up to him because the chief recognized him. She asks what is happening and that she knows him, but he ignores her. The order comes down to completely disarm the Indians so they can't fight back and panic ensues. Frank knows what is coming. The orders he delivered have sealed their fate and he doesn't want to be there when it happens, so he quickly rides off. A deaf Indian tries to fight because he doesn't understand and then the cavalry opens fire killing them all. Hidalgo is upset and doesn't want to ride away and forces Frank to go back. He witnesses the carnage first hand and is devastated.
    Eighteen months later Frank is working as part of the Buffalo Bill Wild West show as a performer. He plays the part of the good guy with Hidalgo reenacting the Wounded Knee battle and the lie of  it all has turned him into a miserable drunk. There is even a real Indian chief in the group who only Frank can understand and who calls Frank the "Far Rider". The group do their show and the chief is booed and food is thrown at him upon is entrance. Afterwards the group piles into trains and travel to the next city and do it all again. 
    On the way to the next town while they on the train the chief needs Frank to talk to Wild Bill Cody, who is running the show, for him. The chief needs money to save their horses that the government has taken away. He says the government is rounding them up and putting them on lands and they can't afford to get him back. Cody offers him a horse and wishes he could help, but there is nothing he can do. 
    Next stop is Coney Island, New York. There are some Arabs in the crowd to see Frank and he isn't doing too well. He's had too much to drink and is in danger of falling of the saddle as Hidalgo rides him around in the show. When Hidalgo stops he goes flying into the stands and the people are stunned until they cover it up by announcing it is the "wounded soldier trick." Then Hidalgo drags him away by his shirt to wild applause.
    During the intermission the two Arabs come to see Buffalo Bill. They are Rasmussen and Aziz and are representatives of a Saudi Arabian Sheikh who is a famous stallion owner. He claims to own the world's greatest endurance riding horse and is insulted by Buffalo Bill's claim that Frank and Hidalgo are the greatest team. Buffalo Bill says Frank won 300 races and never lost before he retired and the title stands. Frank then enters and Bill tells him what is going on. The Arabs claim that Frank cannot be the greatest until he has won the Ocean of Fire. It is a 3000 mile race across the Middle East that has taken place for more than 1000 years. They tell him the Sheikh says Frank must enter and win the race if he wants to keep his title. The entree fee is $1000 and the winner would become very, very rich. Frank isn't interested as he is now retired and he insults the Sheikh. The messenger raises his sword to him, but Bill pulls his gun on him. They back down and all leave to complete the third act of the show.
    Frank is back in his dressing room after the show and drinking. He is disgusted with the fake western show he is a part of. The chief comes in and asks him if he's continuing with the show. Frank doesn't know. He confesses he brought the orders to Wounded Knee and the chief and says that is not why he calls him the Far Rider. The chief wonders if they will die in the western show and tells him he is the far rider because he spends all his time running away from himself and he is neither Indian or white man until he finds himself. He gives him a gift of a pendant in the shape of the logo of his tribe. 
    Frank is checking on Hidalgo in his stall as the train is heading out of New York. Annie Oakley gives him a bag with the silver for their entry fee. She tells him 100 of them kicked in $10 each, the chief put in $20. She says to go over there and make them proud. Frank and Hidalgo jump off the train and ride all the way up to the docks and runs into Rasmussen, the Arab representative and gives him the entry fee. All of them then get on the ocean liner The City of Paris for the long voyage to the Middle East.
    Hidalgo is put in a stall below deck and Frank goes to check on him only to find five sailors harassing his horse. Frank goes over and punches out the leader and the other four jump him, but he fights them all back until the leader gets up and hits him in the face with a shovel. Frank goes down and before he could get hit Anne enters with Aziz who aims a pistol and makes them back off.
    That night Frank is icing his wounds in the lounge when he is approached by Major and Lady Anne Davenport who are excited to see a real cowboy up close. They want to find out what he is made of and if he knows what he is up against. He just says 100 other horses. He finds out the lady owns the other horse on the ship that is next to Hidalgo. They tell him it is not just a race and not just 100 horses. They want to know if he has ever killed an Indian and what kind of horse he owns. After that he leaves.
    Eventually the ship docks in Saudi Arabia and they are lead to the tent city. Frank ties up Hidalgo and Hidalgo wants to go home, but it is too late now. Frank drinks water and is  pouring some on his head when Aziz arrives. He explains that the sheikh wants to see him and off they go.
    He enters the opulent tent and tries to shake the sheikh's hand, but that is forbidden. The sheikh motions everyone to leave them and they talk. The sheikh wonders if he can handle their coffee and their race and Frank assures him he can do both as back home they throw a horseshoe in the pot and if it stand up the coffee is ready. The sheikh explains he had five sons and all of them have died, including one in the great race six years ago. Frank stands to be polite to the woman watching him and the sheikh explains that is his daughter, all he has left and that she is to be ignored. She leaves and he explains the importance of the race and how Frank is the first foreigner ever to enter. Some are upset by this, but it doesn't matter. The sheikh says the winner of the Ocean of Fire will get $100,000. Then the sheikh's great horse al-Hattal is brought in the tent. He tells him his wives go into he stable at night and the horse stays with him to be the most comfortable. They also negotiate a side bet for one of Frank's pearl handle Colt revolvers for an extra $10,000 in the pot.
    Frank investigates the area and feels the sand. An older man named Yusuf comes up to him and gives him all kinds of dire warnings and Frank wants him to go away. The man explains that he was the sheikh's goat herder and was caught stealing milk. His punishment was either to be Frank's assistant or have his hand cut off. There is also a black slave boy who helps out and Frank has them both get Hidalgo water. Frank catches Yusuf going through his things and hears him playing his harmonica and tells him to get out of his stuff. Yusuf finds the Lakota pendant and asks if that is his countries logo. Frank says it is as good as any and Yusuf comes back later with a flag he made with the logo on it.
    Soon after it is the day of the race. One hundred horses line up and await the arrival of the prince and the sheikh's horse. One rider named Sakr even carries a falcon with him to help him along the route. He tells Frank he is insulted by his presence. An old man on top of a parapet reads the rules about riding only during daylight and riders who make it to the halfway mark get a days rest. Then he fires the ancient flintlock gun that sounds the race is on. Hidalgo stays in the thick of it for a hundred yards and then drops back. Frank tells him they will pace themselves. After they are out of the sight of the crowd all the horses ahead move at only a brisk walk and Frank comments it was all for show.
    Around noon that day they are drenched with sweat and in the distance Frank sees a horse go down throwing his rider. The rider sees the horses leg is broken and he ends its suffering with his sword. Frank tries to go over and help him, but it is against the rules. 
    They camp for the night where there is a little grass for Hidalgo. Frank tries to shoot a rabbit for dinner but Sakr's falcon gets it first. Frank makes some coffee and plays the harmonica. The prince is nearby and taunts him to turn back, but Frank doesn't care. He tells him he'll be right with him the next day.
    A few days later they as Frank is riding he is passed by another rider galloping madly. Then another, and another and a fourth. They are riding like madmen and Hidalgo is getting nervous. The wind is picking up and there's something in the air. Then Frank realizes a massive sandstorm is coming up behind them. He races toward a nearby ruin for shelter and is safe, but is still engulfed in the storm.
    They leave the ruins to find the landscape had changed completely. The area is now covered with dunes. The prince gets to a watering hole first where six British soldiers are guarding it. He bribes them to make it look like it is empty so Frank won't get any water. Frank arrives and they tell him the well is dry, but he sees remnants of water in a trough. He tells the commander it is a waste to have six soldiers guard and empty well. The commander is getting angry and tells him to get on his way. Frank makes like he is leaving, but knows they won't survive without the water and walks back and startles their camel and knocks their tent over on top of them. The camel runs and pulls up the water bag from the well and Frank whistles for Hidalgo. He runs over and jumps on his back with the water as the men are trying to get out of the tent. By the time they do they are too far away for a good shot.
    The sheikh's nephew Katib comes to the sheikh because he wants to share in the families breeding secrets. The sheikh is not interested in sharing because he feels the nephew is just a worthless raider. He tells him Mohammad was a raider once and the sheikh says it is blasphemy. He wants nothing to do with him and send him away.
    On the eighth day they reach the halfway point. There is a tent city there with food and shelter. The prince has already arrived and his father and Jazira come in soon after. The prince asks how many are left. The sheikh tells him 60 men have fallen and 30 are unaccounted for. Soon after Lady Davenport's horse rides in followed by Frank. All are in shock that he made it there so soon. He takes Hidalgo right over to the trough and even his servant can't believe he made it. The prince tells him he'll never survive the next leg though. Frank tells him to bribe the men at the next well better.
    That night he receives a visitor to his tent. It is Jazira. She tells him there is no food for the next 100 miles and gives him camel milk and dates for him and Hidalgo. He wants to know why she is helping him. She explains that if the prince wins she will be his fifth wife and she doesn't want to be the youngest part of his harem. She hides her face from him at all times and he wants to know why. She says it is their law and he wouldn't understand. She also tells him her father is obsessed with stories of the wild west and wants to know if they are true. He can't believe it. She asks if the stories of the Indians are true and he says they are and he is half Indian. Before they can continue there is an intruder and Frank covers Jazira to protect her from harm, but it is only Aziz checking up on him. By touching her though Frank has brought disgrace on the sheikh.
    The sheikh thinks Jazira was kidnapped and raped, but she explains it was her idea and all her fault to go there and nothing happened. The sheikh can not believe the shame she has caused him and wishes she would just poison him instead. She protests that he spoils her in secret and he says she is all he has. They bring Frank into the tent in shackles and have to carry her out. The sheikh explains the law of the desert says when a man violates a woman she is to be killed, drowned by her own father. He says time and water are short so his daughter will get seven lashes and Frank will have his manhood removed. Frank is in fear for his life as the executioner comes in bearing his tools. Frank proclaims his innocence, but the sheikh doesn't really believe him. Frank then says something about never walking behind a strange mare and the sheikh is intrigued. Frank says Wild Bill told him that and the sheikh stops at the mention of his hero and orders the castration to be halted. 
    Before the sheikh can let Frank go a melee ensues. It is the sheikh's worthless nephew Katib and he has come to steal al-Hattal. The sheikh refuses to share his horse with his worthless family so he has come to steal him. The sheikh beheads a man in the tent and goes out and fights the other raiders. The prince takes off with the horse and Jazira comes in to free Frank, but she is captured. Then Aziz comes in, but is only interested in taking the sheikh's breeding book and leaves without freeing him too. Jazira breaks free and throws a pot of coffee into her attackers eyes, but another catches her. The raider then tries to kill Frank, but he gets out of the way and hits him in the face with his shackles. He runs outside into the chaos and finds the sheikh. He then shoots two attackers and the sheikh fells another. Jazira's bodyguard tells the sheikh that Katib has his daughter and has taken her away.
    The sheikh goes back to his tent only to find that his sacred breeding book is gone. Frank tells him Aziz has it and they confront him. Aziz says the raiders stole it from him and that he doesn't know where Jazira is. The sheikh goes to cut off his head, but Frank stops him. He says that is too easy and proceeds to punch and torture him by running his spur across Aziz's neck. Aziz then breaks down and confesses. The sheikh tells Frank if he rescues his daughter all we be forgiven and he can get back in the race.
    Katib has Jazira chained up and assures her that her father will come to his senses and turn over al-Hattal. She says he will not do it from where she is chained nearby. When their is a commotion he leaves the breeding book on a table nearby, but she can't reach it.
    Aziz leads Frank and Jaffa to the town where Jazira is being held in a mosque. They also bring al-Hattal to trade for her life. Katib comes out and is so shocked by the sight of the horse he agrees to the deal and brings her out. Only then does he find out he was tricked and they painted the horse to look like al-Hattal. Katib calls for his men to kill her as she and Frank make a run for it. He shoots one man, but before they can get out the door is locked. They head out the back way and she stops to grab her father's book as Hidalgo is coming. She jumps on him as he rides by. Frank shoots the gun in Katib's hand which slows him down and he makes an escape. He climbs up a wall as Jaffa  fights all the guards to the death. He leaves, but Aziz shoots him in the back and plans on shooting Jazira too, but Jaffa's dying move is to impales Aziz with a spear. Frank jumps and lands on Hidalgo as they are going by and shoots behind him as Katib shoots at them. They clear one last arch after Frank shoots the two vases blocking it and are home free back into the desert.
    Jazira cannot understand why he came out to save her. She is so used to women being treated like cattle. He tells her because Hidalgo trusts her and that she is beautiful. She feels he is probably the only man who truly understands her. Back at the camp the sheikh is thrilled and Frank is forgiven.
    That night Lady Davenport makes Frank an offer. She calls him to her tent and says Hidalgo will not make it and that she must win the race. If he drops out now she will give him a third of her winnings. He tells her he'll think about it. She tells him that the breeding and the Bedouins are are her legacy and it is what her father and grandfather spend their lives trying to accomplish. When the offer of money doesn't sway him she puts on music and offers her body to him, but he goes back to his tent alone. He won't quit though because Jazira told him he cannot. In the morning he wakes to find Hidalgo gone. He is frantic until he finds him waiting alone at the starting line! 
    Soon after a group of riders reaches Lady Davenport's caravan during the race. It is Katib and his men. She mocks him for failure, but tells him he still has six days to catch Frank and secure al-Hattal. She wants him to kill Hidalgo so her horse can win the race. He will do it because he is now bent on revenge. She tells him the perfect point for an ambush. He sells Frank will beg him to die, but she doesn't want him to die, preferring to wander the desert until he dies.
    The next day a swarm of locusts comes and envelopes Frank and Hidalgo. He covers Hidalgo up and tries not to panic. He eats one and it isn't bad so he feeds them to Hidalgo realizing the locusts can help them survive. Soon after they see Sakr up ahead riding and suddenly he goes down into the quicksand. Lady Anne's rider passes him right by and Frank stops to help, but Sakr doesn't want his help. he doesn't listen. Sakr's horse Jinni has run off and left him and Frank lassos Skar and pulls him out. That night he gives him comfort and a blanket and tells him it isn't right to let him die and he will let him do what he wants from there. Soon after Sakr's horse returns to him.
    The next day in Syria the prince is in the lead until he hears Lady Anne's horse and Frank behind him neck and neck. Suddenly all three are together when Katib and four riders attack. All three of them are able to break away, but Hidalgo falls into a ten foot pit trap and is impaled on a spike. Katib leaves him there to die. Frank cuts some flesh on Hidalgo and gets him off the spike. Just then Sakr shows up with a rope and helps to pull Hidalgo out. Katib and his men see this and release two leopards to go over and finish them off. They climb on the spikes to get out of the pit and as they do one of the leopards jumps on Hidalgo and they fight. Hidalgo runs away and tosses the leopard. When the second leopard attacks Hidalgo crashes his hooves down on the leopards skull. One of the men goes to fire at Sakr, but Frank impales him with one of the spikes. Another of the riders also goes to take aim, but Sakr's falcon claws his eyes out. Katib rides over and then shoots Sakr dead and goes to finish off a weaponless Frank. He goes to bring his sword down on Frank's head, but Frank blocks the blow with a nearby spike and kicks him in the stomach. He falls over and sets off another pit trap and stand still because it hasn't activated completely. Frank calls over Hidalgo and pulls his lasso. At first it looks like he will help him, but he lassos the stick that sets off the trap completely and lets Katib fall to his death because no one hurts his horse.
    Frank heats up his knife to cauterize the wound. This works for a while and Hidalgo tries to walk, but he falls over tired and bleeding. Frank knew it was no use to push him and puts two bullets in his gun - one for his horse and one for himself. He points the gun at Hidalgo and has a vision of the Lakota Ghost Dance. He sings along and then sees his mother which gives him renewed strength. The prince comes by and tells him the ocean is near, the race is over and he has lost. This inspires Frank and Hidalgo to continue. Soon they are with within sight of the prince and Lady Anne's steed. The prince refuses to give up to the cowboy.
    They are now in the last five miles. The prince is in the lead and Frank and the Lady's horse are neck and neck. Frank spurs Hidalgo on and they pass into second place. Now the cheers at the finish line can be heard in the distance. Frank pushes Hidalgo on as hard as possible and all three are neck and neck. Then Hidalgo bursts past and wins by 50 yards. The crowd goes wild and they continue to the water and splash around. Yusuf hands Frank the Lakota flag and he carries it proudly. The prince congratulates Frank and each man respects each other now. Frank goes into the tent with the sheikh who is very proud of Frank. He gives him his title, his blessing to stay with him and his winnings. In turn Frank gives him one of his pistols as a gift to a friend, but says he must be getting home. He meets Jazira outside and says he would be leaving soon and he would never forget her. She said it was true then that he would ride off into the sunset.
    He returns to South Dakota where the Cavalry was prepared to shoot 1000 Indian mustangs in a pen as sad Indians watch. Before they could do so Frank arrives with a dispatch to save them that he orchestrated with his winnings. He opens up the gate and lets them go. As they run past he let Hidalgo go too, but he doesn't want to leave Frank. With some urging though he runs off to join him and both are now free. The End
    Postscript: it is said Frank Hopkins won over 300 endurance races and never lost. He remained an animal rights activist and fought for the mustangs up until his death at age 86. Hidalgo's ancestors are still free in the lands of Oklahoma.

My Review

    This is a film I never would've seen or paid any attention to if Malcolm wasn't involved. The main problem for me is that his role was so small with what you could barely call 1 1/4 scenes. It is cool to see him as a stereotypical old British aristocrat for however fleeting it is. It seems like he is at least 30 years older than his wife though which seems a little out of place for the 1890s.
    The film is well made, looks good and isn't overly long at 136 minutes. Those are the good parts. It really has a good look to it in the historical sense that they did their homework to make it look right. I doubt they used period costumes and artifacts, but it certainly looks like they could've. The use of computer graphics was also kept to a minimum mainly only during the sandstorm scene and the two leopards. Otherwise everything else looks real which is good because an excessive reliance on CG always makes a movie look fake.
    The story is very basic. A man who is disgusted with how his life has turned out decides to risk everything for one more chance at glory. Nothing exciting there. Viggo Mortensen who gained international stardom from being in The Lord of the Rings makes his first vehicle carrying film in the role of Frank T. Hopkins. He does OK, but he is so low key that he just doesn't show up on the radar screens. He barely shows any emotion and is somewhat flat. He just kind of swaggers cowboy style through the film with a "yes, ma'am, no ma'am" kind of attitude. He handled everything fine doing his own riding and such, but there was no spark of excitement. There was no real connection to the character. Of course you know from the second the idea of the race is introduced that he is not only going to enter, but he is going to win, so the whole race is completely anti-climatic. Any film like this is always a disappointment because they want us to believe that he isn't going to win or might possibly fail, but we all know there is no way. There isn't going to be any surprise or doubts about who is going to cross the finish line first. There is some intrigue, cheating and deception, but none of it really seems to slow Frank down.
    There really isn't any supporting cast to speak of besides Omar Sharif. Of course the Lawrence of Arabia star is right at home in the desert and performs flawlessly. His character is even much more interesting than Frank. He runs through the emotions of pride in his horse, to disgust at his nephew and even holds his own in a swordfight easily lopping the heads off his foes. Otherwise the supporting cast has hardly any screen time. Jazira is given a whole different aspect in the script as a horse expert, but her whole backstory is dropped in the film. The strange thing is that we would expect a very beautiful woman to play her, but instead she is an average looking unknown actress.
    The whole plot with Aziz stealing the breeding book was a bit of a mess. If this book is so sacred and important then why isn't under lock and key? Why isn't it protected? It seems unbelievable that the sheikh's deputy would betray him for no reason to a thug. There is no indication why he did it. Was it for money? Jealousy? What? How would it help him to team up with an unruly raider like Katib? Jaffa was also an interesting character who was much more fleshed out in the script, but was relegated to almost nothing here. It seems all the supporting players were cut back to almost two dimensional cardboard characters.
    Disney wants those who don't pay attention to reality to think this was a true story. nothing could be farther from the truth as the whole Ocean of Fire race never existed. In fact there is really nothing true in the story except for the inclusion of the Wounded Knee massacre. There was a real Frank Hopkins, but he just wrote fancy stories to provide additional justification for his support of saving the mustangs. Even the poster is misleading showing a hatless Frank leading the back of Arabian horses which never happened. Besides that it is impossible to have access to or carry enough watch to quench the thirst of both horse and rider times 100. How are the camel caravans able to keep up? How the heck did everyone get to the halfway mark in the middle of the desert before the riders!? None of this is explained. How are caged leopards able to survive in the middle of a desert? how do they get them to attack who they want? How could it be possibly that Frank or Hidalgo weren't seriously injured upon falling into the spike pit. How could Hidalgo go from impaled to near death to up and running to win the race within a few minutes!? At least if the horse died at the end it would've been an emotional conclusion. 
    The real star of the story is the horse who the film is named for. He steals the show in his scenes and does a great job at really injecting a personality in his actions. When he wants to go home he is able to convey this by handing Frank his hat in his mouth. When he wants to race he goes to the starting line by himself. When he wants to help Frank out he is able to untie his own ropes and take off.
    The film is rated PG-13 mainly for the violence during the attack of the raiders where heads are cut off and many are shot and stabbed. More people are killed during Jazira's rescue, but surprisingly there is really no cursing or sex of any kind. There is no kissing or nudity of any sort which is quite rare these days. So for that reason alone there is no problem taking your kids to see it.
    There is nothing here for me to recommend seeing it. There isn't enough Malcolm for his fans and there isn't enough in the story to recommend it regardless. To put it bluntly no matter how good the film looks it is really just crap. It is just bland and uninteresting. It isn't boring enough to put you to sleep and doesn't drag on endlessly, but it is impossible to hold your interest. Overall it seems like it tried to hard to be too many things and in the end didn't succeed at any of them. Was it a wild west story? The story of a race? A depiction of how badly the Indians were treated? A story of redemption? A triumph of the human spirit? In the end it by just touching on all of these things in turn it was none of them. Everything else was just filler for the race which wasn't terribly exciting or nerve racking in anyway. Just skip it and if you absolutely HAVE to see it then just rent it or buy the DVD when it is released in 3-4 months.

Rating 2/10

Trailers

There are two TV trailers making the rounds. The long one features a shot of MM and he says, "Mustang". The short one doesn't feature him and has reviewers quotes.

The True Story of Hidalgo

First aired on the History Channel 3/4/04. Runs 45 minutes.

    Disney commissioned this special to promote the film and back up their claims that the film was "based on a true story". What they found was a very different picture, but they didn't completely back down from their claims and to their credit they still did air the special that paints them in a bad light. I knew nothing at all about the film except for Malcolm's involvement and production information so I was very interested in seeing this show.
    The first half of the hour special deals not with Hidalgo the horse, but with Frank T. Hopkins. All the information we have about him is from the articles he has written and from his unpublished manuscripts of his life. Based on these writings it seems he led one of the most exciting lives in the old west. No one rode more miles, won more races or knew more famous people of the day than he did.
    He was born at Fort Laramie in 1865 where his father was stationed and owned land. His mother was a Lakota Indian and he was bi-lingual which gave him an edge. Hopkins’ adventures began when he became a dispatch rider for the US government on his twelfth birthday in 1877. He claims to have gone onto to work as the greatest buffalo hunter of the day, an Indian fighter, African explorer, an undefeated endurance racer, trick rider, bounty hunter, Rough Rider, big game guide, secret agent, Pinkerton detective and star of the Buffalo Bill Wild West show for 32 years.
    He become known as the "Long Rider" because of his fame as the fastest courier in the army. He regularly made 100-150 mile runs between forts in the Midwest. These solo trips were very rugged and dangerous. Men could easily become lost, attacked or killed by the weather, animals or Indians. During one of these treks he came across a man riding on horseback who stopped him. He said to Frank, "You are the Long Rider, aren't you?" When Frank responded that he was, the man said he could ride with him and that he was Billy the Kid. During his travels he witnessed the massacre at Wounded Knee and knew Black Elk and Sitting Bull.
    He first gained notoriety by winning an 1800 mile cross country horse race from Galveston, Texas to Rutland, Vermont in 1886. Some riders would ride the horses until they died, but Frank was an animal rights activist and won by treating his horse right. Upon his win he found that Buffalo Bill was waiting for him at the train station and wanted him for his Wild West Show which he would star in for 32 years. Frank wrote he had won as many as five hundred endurance races in the US and retired undefeated. He only came out of retirement to enter the "Ocean of Fire" a 3000 mile race across North Africa and the Middle East on a mustang named Hidalgo. He was the first American ever to compete in the annual race that had been held for over 1000 years and the only one to win it. And he beat the second place rider by 33 hours.
    Upon his return he became a close personal friend of Teddy Roosevelt. Eventually he retired again and began to write articles for magazine about his adventures and mustangs. In 1926 an article appeared that said he was the basis of Zane Grey's novels and that parts of his life were used in a film starring William S. Hart as well as him having a Canadian wife and ten children. Charles Roth writes articles about him for horse magazines that perpetuates his legend. Others quote them as fact.
    In part two the debate begins about what is truth and what is fiction. His main champion today is screenwriter John Fusco who wrote the screenplay for Hidalgo. Also on his side is an Indian woman who was inspired by his writings and love of mustangs to become a mustang expert herself. The other people in part one who helped tell the stories now tell what they did to try to prove or disprove them. The main person on the other side is Basha O'Reilly from The Long Riders Guild, the world's first international association of equestrian explorers. These people really did their homework and traveled around the country and beyond to find out the real story. They start with his birth at Fort Laramie in 1865. Louise Samson, Curator of the Fort Laramie National Historic Site: "There is not only no documentation, written or oral, to substantiate Hopkins’ claims, the overwhelming evidence leaves no doubt that he was not born at, lived anywhere near, or ever returned to Fort Laramie." There are no land ownership records for his father or anyone with his family name. During the 1916 census Frank stated he was born in Texas, and the place of birth of his parents is "unknown." Fusco says that since it was the 1860s records weren't kept all the time and there was no mandatory registration of people around that time so the lack of records is common. This is not a good start if his birth story is false. One of the forts he supposedly rode to and from as a dispatch rider was built in 1865 and was gone by 1868. Frank would've been three years old at the time, so there is no way to claim that this story is true. Also in 1929 Frank married second wife Gertrude in New York. On the marriage certificate he listed his age as 44. This would make his birth 1885, so there is no way in hell he did anything he claimed in the 1800's. Frusco said he just lied about his age because his wife was much younger than him.
    Frank also claims that his mother was a Sioux Indian. Dr. Vine Deloria, Jr., leading Native American scholar, historian and author: "The problem is that these distortions of the Indian history, the slandering of famous chiefs and leaders, and the presentation of these lies as history cannot be easily erased once they are promulgated as fact.... What kind of authenticity Hopkins' writings had were derived from other books or just plain speculation and fantasy." Besides the fact in his photos his doesn't look Indian at all.
    What about that famous Galveston, Texas to Rutland, Vermont race? Casey Greene, Head of Special Collections, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas: "We've referenced every newspaper between 1880 and 1890 but there is absolutely no mention of Frank Hopkins or a race from Galveston to Vermont.” Plus the fact Galveston is a island and the chances of a race not starting on the mainland is slim. There are no records of any horserace ever starting in Galveston. His supporters claim that these races were underground and not spoken of back because of the cruelty to animals  like cock fights. He says you wouldn't find any stories about cock fights in the papers back then either. On the personal side I used to work in Galveston. There is only one road in or out of the island over a big bridge. I can't imagine horses going over this long bridge down I-45 which is the only road to Houston. I can't picture anything major happening there as it was such a low isolated area as witnessed when all the people died their during the 1900 great storm. From the opposite end of the race comes James Davidson of the Vermont Historical Society: "There is nothing in the local newspapers around that time about a race ending here in Rutland. At that time everything was reported on, even somebody going to New York for the weekend, so it is inconceivable that such an interesting event would have gone unnoticed. The only endurance Hopkins ever did was with his pencil." James says no matter what it would've been mentioned if there was a race. He shows actual papers from back then that list the most minute boring details like when a townsperson traveled to Boston for business or went on vacation.
    Frank claimed he was a star of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show for 32 years. Dr. Juti Winchester, Curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center: "We are unable to find any Frank T. Hopkins in our database of known cast members, acquaintances, employees, or friends of Colonel Cody. We find that after Cody's death, some people made pretty spectacular claims about their relationship with him, what they did in the Wild West show, and so on." The Indian says that it isn't likely that every horseman's name was known and he rode under other names like the Laramie Kid. Juti says that is just not true because the archives and programs list everyone involved in the show down to the people who pounded the tent stakes and the potato peelers. She admits there was Laramie Kid, but his real name was not Frank Hopkins.
    Frusco says that the a photographe of Frank's gear proves he was stunt rider because only people in the profession would have gear like that. A picture doesn't prove anything, he could've bought them at a pawn shop. Speaking of pictures there is not even a documented photograph of Frank riding a horse.
    So what about the whole Ocean of Fire race that is the basis of the entire film? Dr. Awad Al-Badi, Director of Research, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies: "There is absolutely no record or reference to Hopkins with or without his mustangs ever having set foot on Arabian soil. The idea of a historic long distance Arab horse race is pure nonsense and flies against all reason. Such an event in Arabiaany time in the past is impossible simply from a technical, logistical, cultural and geopolitical point of view. This race has never been part of our rich traditions and equestrian heritage." The Long Riders went over to Saudi Arabia and could find no one that has ever heard of the race except for Frank and no proof whatsoever was found. There was never any newspaper record found of any race. Frusco says the Bedouins have an oral tradition and don't write things down. Dr. Mohammed Talal Al-Rasheed, scholar in Arabic and English literature and history: “The idea of such a race in Arabia is a non-starter and can be debunked simply from an intellectual point of view without even getting into the ludicrous logistics of it. It is a shabby fantasy.” They also calculated that the amount of water and camels required for an event of this magnitude would be staggering. They said at least 450 gallons of water would be required for all the riders every day. Where would that have come from and how would they have carried it?
    Frusco said Frank wrote like he was an expert on his topics. His articles are personal and inspiring. This in and of itself doesn't prove anything. For example Gregory Michno, author of the Encyclopedia of Indian Wars : Western battles and Skirmishes, 1850-1890: “Black Elk told his story to John Neihardt in the 1930s and it was in the book ‘Black Elk Speaks.’ Some of this [Hopkins' version of the Massacre] is taken right from Black Elk’s book, but it was Red Crow who was with Black Elk, not Hopkins. It is so obvious that Hopkins is a fraud.” So many of his stories are either plagiarized or just based on tall tales of the day. Frusco even admits that Frank thought like a screenwriter. He says he writings read like a screenplay when there needs to be an action scene every so often to spice it up. The way Frusco talks it makes Frank sound like he is a fraud even more, so I don't know how this helps Frusco's case. Frusco also claims that endurance racing is so unromantic that why would anyone want to lie about it? Why not say you were something more important? The main problem is that once Frank's writing were published others just blindly quoted them as fact in their works which perpetuated the legend.
    What about being a friend of Teddy Roosevelt? John A. Gable, Ph.D., Executive Director, Theodore Roosevelt Association: "There is no listing of a Frank T. Hopkins in the Rough Rider roster in Virgil Carrington Jones's Rough Riders. There is no listing of a F. T. Hopkins in the index of the Theodore Roosevelt Papers in the Library of Congress - Roosevelt's correspondence files - and virtually everyone who knew Roosevelt is represented by letters in this collection."
    Another problem is that after his death Robert Easton, the author, was interested in writing a biography on Frank. He corresponded with his widow looking for proof of Frank's exploits. They wrote back and forth for years. All of these letters were found in Easton's papers. It seems she exaggerated the already tall tales and made them much taller, totally damaging any shred of Frank's credibility. Both sides agree that all of Gertrude's writing are pure fantasy.
    So just who is the real Frank Hopkins? He was certainly a real person and they show where he is buried. The tombstone reads 1865 as his birth year. After much research they found out that he worked as a subway tunnel digger in Philadelphia and a baggage handler for Ringling Brothers Circus. It is believed his work in the circus is where he got his stories from. He just copied the stories used for the events that were performed. Once such routine was a desert race with Arabian horses.
    In conclusion all the people who are against Frank are certain he is a total fraud and spent many months in 2003 researching all of his claims. They were not able to verify one single claim he made. They were unable to produce one witness who could prove he was where he said he was or a scrap of paper besides Frank's own to prove anything he said. The Indian says Frank might have exaggerated things, but in general she believes in him. 
    After the special Fusco was quoted as saying, "We're saying the film is based on the life of Frank T. Hopkins. But it's not all that important to me if it said 'true story' or not. Even though we have decades of historical information, there is little known about the race itself. I did need to dramatize, I did need to create characters and situations. In many ways, it is a hero's-journey template. It is, you know, just a good story."
    If you have any interest at all in history, mustangs or horse riding in general this is a must see. If you are interested in the film at all this will completely open your eyes in a new way. I've known since 2002 that Malcolm would have a small role in the film, but I never heard anything to say the film was totally fake until this special as I try to avoid spoilers. I was quite glad I saw the special before I saw the film so I knew it was a complete farce. Maybe that hindered my enjoyment of the film a bit, but all in all that film just wasn't entertaining. This special was much more informative than the film ever was. It was also well done that they did the set up of his life for the first half and the debunking in the second half. It left me wondering if Frusco really believed this stuff. I don't think he did, but painted himself into a corner by selling it as a true story. That must be why they changed the tagline to "based on the life of Frank T. Hopkins" as Frank walks into the bar after the first scene in the film. While that statement is true, it is still based on a lie, but is better than saying it is a true story.

Pictures © 2003 Disney Enterprises, Inc.
This page © 2002-08 Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net