Jul 6, 2011

Childhood memories: "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken" (1991)

(Today I'll make an exception and I'll talk about a more recent film).

I think we all had a movie obsession when we were children. My youngest brother used to watch every.single.day Disney's Robin Hood after kindergarten. Even when they're cool, the rest of my brothers and I couldn't stand the songs anymore. But he arrived with his little backpack, kneeled down in front of the TV and put the famous VHS. 

I had a movie obsession too. I think I was 7 or 8 and I did the same: arrived home from school and watched Disney's Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken over and over. The problem was I didn't own the VHS; my mom rented it from Errol's (I feel so old). To me that was the perfect movie: it had horses and a main character I admired. It's the (very fictionalized) story of Sonora Webster Carver, a famous horse diver in the 20s, 30s and 40s:

Basically, the horses ran through a ramp, the girls waited on top and then mounted the horses and jumped from the heights into a pool. I've read that the horses didn't suffer, but the girls could easily suffer accidents.

The movie starts when young Sonora (awesomely played by Gabrielle Anwar, the actress from the most famous tango scene in movie history) wants to leave her bossy aunt and find something exciting to do with her life. She finds an ad in the newspaper asking for a girl to ride diving horses in Atlantic City. She leaves and in her journey she finds love, a great passion, meets interesting people and suffers a tragedy.

I remember I loved the scenes that showed the Atlantic City fair; with all those attractions and food and nice music. I loved how Sonora tried once and again to learn how to properly mount the horses, to convince people that she was adequate for the job, that stubbornness was so cool to watch when you were a kid: if you think you could do it, try, try, try...Here's the opening scene:

Even when it's a Disney movie, the tone very adult. People suffer, people make mistakes, there's an important character that dies, there's jealousy and pain. They also did a wonderful work portraying the times of the Depression and the settings and the horse diving show look very real. If you don't know about Sonora or how it exactly ends, I recommend you to check the movie to find out.

It's a very engaging movie and even when the real Sonora didn't like it because it was too fictionalized, the 8 years old me really recommends it :)  You can watch it on Youtube.

Did you have a movie obsession as a kid?


  1. I don't remember being obsessed with one particular movie as a kid- it was mostly just Disney animated movies in general (I'm still obsessed with them :). First it was Beauty and the Beast, then The Little Mermaid, and then Pocahontas.

  2. I always enjoyed this movie. Hadn't read a review of it in years, so this post was a lot of fun. Gabrielle Anwar stars in one of myt favorite current TV series, BURN NOTICE.

  3. My sister was obsessed with this movie because she loves animals. I'd get the family to out-vote her on what to watch after school, though. :) I was the baby in the family when my older sister was going through puberty; head-strong teen themes with animals didn't appeal to me at the time.

    Gabrielle Anwar was to me, for the longest time, Queen Anne in Disney's The Three Musketeers (1993). It's still weird to see her in other movies or on TV. She looks great in period costumes.

  4. OH MY GOSH I LOVE WILDHEARTS CAN'T BE BROKEN. Haha sorry I got really excited that you wrote about this. I saw the title of the post and gasped. My sisters and I always loved that movie. Haha I thought it was sad she cut her hair...though it probably looks better that way. I may need to go watch it now!

    As a child though, I was really obsessed with the 1997 cartoon movie "Anastasia." I loved it probably from 3rd to 8th grade on and off. I secretly hoped I was the lost princess haha which is ridiculous.

  5. I just spent the morning watching this on the YouTube link you posted. Such a great movie, loved it! I wish I had seen it when I was a kid but I was probably too busy watch The Princess Bride over and over. Great post :)

  6. LOL, me too, I'm still obsessed with Disney movies :) Although now I kind of dislike the Disney movie I watched the most as a kid, "The Little Mermaid". My fave is "The Beauty and the beast". Thanks for the feedback, Kristin!

  7. Thank you! I'm glad to know that more people love this film :) Hey, I watched the first episode of BURN NOTICE and didn't like it very much, should I give it another opportunity? Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

  8. Oh yes, you're right, now I remember she was on Disney's The 3 Musketeers! Cool your sister liked this film, it's awesome :) Thanks for the feedback, Java :)

  9. Clara, I enjoyed what you had to say about WILD HEARTS CAN'T BE BROKEN! I first fell in love with comedy-mysteries and Hitchcock thrillers when I was a kid (surely I've blathered about watching my first Hitchcock movie, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, in the middle of the night with my big brother?). For some reason, I was particularly fascinated with the main characters being knocked unconscious or drugged to render them helpless, thus building the suspense all the more. Of course, when I grew up and learned (again from my brother, a doctor) that in real life knockouts or drugging could cause serious damage or even death! It was a valuable lesson, to say the least! :-)

  10. I KNOW, it's such an inspirational movie!! Hope you got to re-watch it, I'm planning to see it soon :) Oh, I liked "Anastasia", but I wasn't obsessed with it...hey, maybe you are the lost princess :) Thanks for your comment, so cool to hear that more people love this film!!!

  11. Great!!!!! I'm glad you enjoyed it, it's awesome!! I discovered "The princess bride" recently, it's really funny :) Thanks for visiting my blog, Stephanie!!



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