I think The Silver Brumby is somewhere in my garage, it used to be the only Aussie Russell Crowe movie in our DVD format (U.S. fans). I can see the others too now, and the first I checked out was Hammers Over the Anvil. It’s a better horse movie, the other one is a children’s movie with what I consider one of Russell’s scariest villains. There was something wrong with that Man. He joked in an interview about how that was the only movie of his that his son could watch, and his son didn’t know what to make of him chasing a horse all over hell and back hollering at the top of his lungs in frustration. At home, he just calls and they come. I read a wrenching account of wild horse management politics in American drylands a few years ago, and this is where I stand on wild horses now: horses belong with people. Sure, the loose ones are hard to catch. But without us they can’t rely on their environment for safety, comfort, or kindness in the end.
The wild horse is magnetic as an idea, but unhealthy as a general rule. The wild horseman, on the other hand, is sweet enough to prefer horses to bosses, but strong enough to be free to choose. That’s East, played by Russell Crowe in Hammers Over the Anvil. I don’t have the soundtrack to this Australian coming of age epic, but I have some other paeans to the plains and the horseman that remind me of East and his horses. There’s the soundtrack to Dances with Wolves, and also the soundtrack to Out of Africa, both composed by John Barry. I arranged these with Dvorák’s New World Symphony and “American” string quartet, Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite, and Copland’s Rodeo. I mixed in a little James Taylor, Norah Jones (Sunrise), Laura Nyro (The Wind), and George Winston (Rainsong).