We gave it an F
In 1979, the lovely children’s fable The Black Stallion cast a spell, in no small part because of its radical spareness of dialogue. In Running Free, a boy and a horse become friends, only this time the animal, a chestnut-brown colt named Lucky, communes with us in voice-over (spoken by Lukas Haas, all grown up from Witness), and a weirdly detached and affectless narration it is, too. This may be the first talking-animal movie in which the critter hero seems to have been body-snatched by a commentator from C-SPAN.
Running Free is set in Africa in 1914, which means that when Lucky isn’t lulling us to sleep with such pensees as ”I saw horses working everywhere in the town, and I wondered what would happen to me,” the soundtrack thunders with incongruously deafening ”tribal” drums. Small children may be frightened, but those drums are the closest thing to a pulse this movie has. F