Expect things to be different at the Penrose dinner table. Ma insists everyone perform yogic deep breathing. Mr. Puddy, a boarder, has news of an edible beer bottle he's inventing. And little Lewie Penrose? He's been communicating with horses.
"Butch" Jenkins, whose brief career as a child actor includes the earlier National Velvet, returns to the equine realm to play Lewie in this tale of a racetrack bettor eager to exploit the boy's gift and an older Penrose sibling (Peter Lawford) who looks out for Lewie's interests.
In later years, director Fred Zinneman seldom referred to MY BROTHER TALKS TO HORSES as one of his career highpoints. Even so, this leisurely period comedy has its moments, most of them delivered by precocious Jackie "Butch" Jenkins as the title character. Living with his family in Baltimore, 9-year-old Lewie Penrose (Jenkins) claims that he can converse with horses-and also pick the winners of upcoming races. When it appears as though Lewie is telling the truth, he attracts the interest of gambler Rich Roeder (Charles Ruggles), who needs a "sure thing" in the upcoming Preakness. Meanwhile, Lewie's older brother John (Peter Lawford) carries on a romance with the lovely Martha (Beverly Tyler). An unexpected tragedy slows down the film in the home stretch, but otherwise MY BROTHER TALKS TO HORSES is a pleasant second-echelon MGM production.
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