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On an island off the Virginia coast lives a centuries-old band of wild ponies.
The real wild ponies of Assateague Island off the coast of Virginia and Maryland are at the heart of this film. It illustrates the origin, history, and traditions that define the lives of these beautiful creatures -- and the people who looked after them (at least until 1961).
Loving another may mean that we have to let that loved one go. Unselfish love demands that the happiness and welfare of the person (or, in this case, animal) come first. In keeping with Misty's concern for wild animals and their young, the film shows the difference between "gentling" and "breaking" an animal as a means of training. It also stresses responsibility to others and working hard to reach a desired goal.
No villains here. Grandparents and other grownups are loving, reliable, wise, and generous. The kids' basic good nature enables them to grow and learn from their mistakes. Surprisingly, for a film made in 1961, some of the conflict involves a girl's right to participate in traditionally male-only ventures.
Parents need to know that Misty is a family-friendly film from 1961, inspired by a true story and based on the Newbery Award-winning book of the same name by Marguerite Henry. It offers gentle messages about responsibility, love, and patience, and about humane treatment of creatures in the wild. There are two mildly suspenseful scenes: A pony is thought to be drowning, and a stallion chases a young boy; both are resolved quickly. In an early look at gender discrimination, the young heroine asserts her right to participate in the same activities as her brother. Brief reference is made to the fact that the two kid protagonists have lost their parents and are adjusting to life with their grandparents.