I was watching the movie ‘Crimson Tide’ for the nth time today. It is one of my favourite movies and has Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington playing leading roles. Hackman plays the role of Captain Ramsey, the captain of an American nuclear submarine and Washington plays the role of Hunter, Captain Ramsey’s deputy. The sparks fly between these two – because Ramsey is a chap who has been at sea for a few decades, while Hunter is one of the younger breed of officers, who has sophisticated degrees in his resume but hasn’t seen active service. In one particular tense situation, where Captain Ramsey is holding Hunter nearly under arrest (I won’t reveal more of the story here. You have to watch the movie, if you haven’t already), Ramsey suddenly starts talking about horses. I am giving below a snippet of the dialogue that follows.
Capt. Ramsey: Speaking of horses did you ever see those Lipizzaner stallions.Hunter: What?Capt. Ramsey: From Portugal. The Lipizzaner stallions. The most highly trained horses in the world. They’re all white?Hunter: Yes, sir.Capt. Ramsey: “Yes, sir” you’re aware they’re all white or “Yes, sir” you’ve seen them?Hunter: Yes, sir I’ve seen them. Yes, sir I was aware that they’re are all white. They are not from Portugal; they’re from Spain and at birth, they’re not white; they’re black. Sir.Capt. Ramsey: I didn’t know that. But they are from Portugal.[Chuckling]Capt. Ramsey: Some of the things they do, uh, defy belief. Their training program is simplicity itself. You just stick a cattle prod up their ass and you can get a horse to deal cards.[Chuckles]Capt. Ramsey: Simple matter of voltage.
To see the full effect of the scene, you can watch the video here.
The conversation made me smile. It is totally unrelated to the tense situation on board the submarine It also brings out different facets of the personalities of two people who don’t agree on many things. The lines are also open to other interpretations. (Some of my former bosses and former customers will chuckle after reading the last two lines of Captain Ramsey! Because that is what they practised everyday ) After watching this scene again today, I did what I had wanted to do before – do some research on Lippizaner stallions In addition to the above interesting facts, this is what I found.
- The Lippizaner horse’s place of origin is believed to be in modern day Slovenia (though they are believed to have descended from Spain in the distant past). Lippizan is Slovenia’s national symbol
- Modern day Lippizans are believed to have descended from eight stallions – Pluto, Conversano, Maestoso, Favory, Neapolitano, Siglavy, Tulipan, Incitato (interestingly, all look like Italian names!)
- Lippizans are associated with the ‘Spanish Riding school’ but the ‘Spanish Riding School’ is situated in Vienna, Austria
- Some movies which are based on Lippizaner horses are Florian (about two Lippizaner horses), Miracle of the White Stallions (about the rescue of Lippizaner stallions during World War II), The White Horses (Yugoslavian TV series about the adventures of a teenage girl who visits a Lippizaner farm)
- Some stories which are based on Lippizaner horses are ‘The Star of Kazan’ by Eva Ibbotson and ‘Airs above the ground’ by Mary Stewart
A Lippizaner ShowA Lippizan playing with another horse
There is more, but I think it might be too long and boring for you If you want to read more about Lippizans, you can find more information at http://www.lipizzaner.com/home.asp and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipizzan.