As the parents of a busy family in an early 20th-century English hamlet, Donald Crisp and Anne Revere save this treacly family drama from choking on its own sentimentality. Based on the 1935 novel of the same name, National Velvet follows a horse-obsessed, 12-year-old girl (Elizabeth Taylor) who finds her way to a prestigious steeplechase, thanks to the wild stallion she befriends and the older boy (Mickey Rooney) who helps train him. Taylor is brutal; unrestrained by director Clarence Brown, her maniacal enthusiasm for the horse comes off as mentally unhinged. Thankfully Brown establishes a far more nuanced tone in the evening scenes set in the family’s home, where Mr. and Mrs. Brown (Crisp and Revere) negotiate the emotional ups and downs of their daughters (and one young son) with grace and good humor. Crisp, of course, had done this before—as the father in John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley—while Revere would go on to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work here.