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Saturday July 21st 2018

National Velvet | 1944

Velvet Brown (Elizabeth Taylor) and Mi Taylor (Mickey Rooney) train a wild horse which goes on to win the Grand National in the UK.

The old Warner Bros Ranch, where much of the movie was shot, is now the Calabasas Golf Club, 4515 Park Entrada, Calabasas, off Hwy-101 northwest of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains. On the edge of the golf course you can still see some of the old barn buildings from the movie.

More scenes were filmed at the Polo Field at Pebble Beach, south of Monterey, on the central California coast.

The Grand National, which takes place annually at Aintree Racecourse on Merseyside in England, is the most famous horserace in the UK and also the most controversial due to the number of animal injuries caused by the notoriously difficult course. 'Aintree' scenes were filmed at the Uplifters Ranch in Rustic Canyon, near Santa Monica.

The Uplifters were established in 1913 as an offshoot of the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Members included such luminaries as Will Rogers, Walt Disney, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Busby Berkeley, Harold Lloyd, Darryl F Zanuck and L Frank Baum, author of The Wizard Of Oz, who came up with the group's name, wrote its anthem and scripted most of their amateur theatricals. Predictably, during Prohibition, the Uplifters was known as a high-class drinking club. The club was disbanded in 1947 but it's still possible to see remnants of cabins and clubhouses in the Canyon.