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A decades-old story gets a warm recounting in "Harry & Snowman," a documentary about the bond between horse and human.
Writer-director Ron Davis retells the story of Snowman, a speckled-white plow horse that was on his way to the glue factory in 1956 when Harry De Leyer bought him for $80. De Leyer, a Dutch immigrant who as a child saw the horrors of World War II, intended to use Snowman to teach riding to the rich girls at the Long Island boarding school where he worked. But Snowman showed a talent for jumping, so De Leyer took the horse to show-jumping competitions all the way to the National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden, the most prestigious trophy in the sport in America.
Through interviews with De Leyer (now 89), some of his children and several friends, as well as archival footage and accounts from the New York Herald-Tribune sportswriter who covered Snowman's career, Davis creates a fond portrait of the trainer and his relationship with the gentle, big-hearted horse. There are mentions of De Leyer's less savory qualities, such as being a taskmaster with his children, but these faults are forgiven in the movie's overly nostalgic glow.
'Harry & Snowman'
Opening Friday, Nov. 11, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; not rated, but probably PG for mature themes and mild language; 84 minutes.