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When the Trumpet Sounds

By Linda Canup

SecretariatDo you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?

Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting?

He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength, and charges into the fray.

He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he does not shy away from the sword.

The quiver rattles against his side, along with the flashing spear and lance.

In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground; he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.

Job 39:19-24 (NIV)

“It was not part of the [original] script and it wasn’t even part of the script when we were filming,” says director Randall Wallace regarding this passage from Job that appears in his latest film, Secretariat. I think he likes that I’ve asked about the movie’s opening sequence. He tells me its creation story with enthusiasm.

 “We originally started the movie with Penny at her house, but that made for too long a section without seeing horses,” he says, “I wanted to tell the audience, ‘Horse racing is coming!’” His team moved the opening to the starting gates, wrote—and scratched out—a narration, and searched for words of biblical proportions to introduce the story. Finally, they put together the perfect opening sequence, which included the passage from Job.

Based on the true story of the horse by the same name, Secretariat shares the legendary saga of the 1973 Triple Crown winner. With the loss of her mother and her father’s deteriorating health, housewife and mother Penny Chenery Tweedy (Diane Lane) agrees to take over the family’s Virginia-based Meadow Stables. Despite a number of setbacks, she manages to navigate the male-dominated business, and with the help of veteran trainer Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich), she becomes the proud owner of the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years—and perhaps the greatest racehorse of all time.

Randall WallaceAs executives discussed the movie, there was some concern that the under-30 crowd wouldn’t know who Secretariat was. Randall briefly considered titling the movie When the Trumpet Sounds to invoke the power of the biblical comparison, but decided to stick with Secretariat.

This blew my mind. At 29, Secretariat is still the greatest athlete in my world. As a kid, I didn’t just want a pony for Christmas—I wanted a superhorse like Secretariat. He was my Barbie and Superman rolled into one—beauty and strength beyond anything that had existed, or has existed since.

I suppose my love of horses makes me an easy sell for the movie. But I wondered what the attraction might be for someone less star struck by the horse. I asked Randall what drew him to the story.

Secretariat, first of all, is a hugely entertaining story, with a transcendent theme—that there are possibilities in life greater than we can ever imagine,” he explains. “I knew about the horse, but I did not know about the courage and the faith and the love of the woman who owned him.“

He recalls the time he was visiting the church his family planted in Tennessee. It was Father’s day, and he was attending the service with his sons. The pastor said, “I would like to give my son a lot of money. But I’m not going to because I don’t have a lot of money. Now you are here in church because you want to give your children faith. How are you going to do it if you don’t have it yourself?” 

Randall was struck by the truth of that statement and feels the principle is true for storytelling as well. “I can’t make a story that inspires other people unless I’m inspired by it myself. And the story of Secretariat and the woman who owned him stirred my heart. It suggested to me that it had potential to make people’s hearts soar.”

Even though Randall grew up in a Christian home and went to seminary, he never seriously considered full-time ministry. “I’ve given truer sermons, more effective sermons [through storytelling] than I would have known how to give from a pulpit,” he says. Randall has a notable ability to find the greater themes that exemplify values like faith, hope, and love. This is evident in his filmography—which includes moves like Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, and Pearl Harbor. Those who work with him notice this talent as well. Diane Lane, who stars in Secretariat, fondly considers him a romantic and compliments his talent for bringing out the archetypes in a story.

I ask him if he thinks being a Christian makes him different as a writer and director. “Well it certainly makes me different as Randy Wallace,” he says. When working on a script, he gets up early and starts with prayer, asking God to bless others and himself through his work. For him, writing and telling stories that move him—and hopes will move others—is an act of faith. It is work that both fulfills and changes him into who God wants him to be. “[It] makes me less selfish and less afraid, less angry, less absorbed in myself," he says, “Making movies makes my heart sing. It’s extremely challenging and yet it brings wonderful fulfillment.”

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.


33 comments
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  • July 08, 2012 08:00 AM

    by

    The comments that i have read here should be made into a sequel. Loved the movie, loved the comments, shucks i love you guys.
  • April 02, 2012 12:47 AM

    by

    This movie inspires me, it shows determination , commitment, dedication, and the will to press on when life seams to hold you down.. to never give up!! And with every great stride and heart you can achieve and do anything... God truly showed himself through Secretariat, " That in life NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE "......
  • January 10, 2012 10:19 PM

    by

    I love this movie it makes me feel hopeful and good. Anything is possible
  • November 07, 2011 09:13 PM

    by

    I could watch this movie a million times and never get tired of it !! It is a amazing story about a horse who no one thinks can win but he beats the odds and is a true underdog!! Thankyou Thankyou so much for filming this amazing movie!! It combines both a rare story and horses!! :))
  • October 14, 2011 06:58 AM

    by

    I Googled the quote, knowing it had to be from the Bible--it was too beautiful not to be. Lovely, lovely film. Well done and congratulations! Godspeed.
  • February 06, 2011 12:53 AM

    by

    I love Secretariat, but I am still a die-hard Seabiscut lover, sorry.
  • November 20, 2010 09:50 PM

    by

    I ABSOLUTLY LOVE this movie. I saw the movie 3 times that is how amazing it is. I had to do a paper for school on my favorite band and etc. and I picked secretariat and I have watched so many of his racing clips and so many clipsof how they made the movie and about him I didnt even have to look anything up. This movie really speaks to you. It tells you that if you set your mind to something you can do anything. You can acomplish it. It also tells you that never give up in life. Fight till the end. Secretariat never gave up. He fought till the end. Also, God really spoke through this horse. I love that Randall Wallace is a Christian. Since he is a Christian God really made this movie great. I am also a Christian and I love that he is a Christian because we need lots of Christians in the world this day and age. Secretariat is my idle beside Jesus my mommy and my daddy. I WILL LOVE HIM FOR FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!
    By: Ireland Hawk
    P.S. I am 11 years old
  • November 19, 2010 01:23 PM

    by

    My school students have told me how terrific the movie, Secretariat, was for them. Some have even seen it multiple times.
    I am a horse lover, but more importantly a Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Lover, and even look forward moreso to seeing it, now that I know it is a Christian movie, too.
    Thank you director/writer. I will be looking forward to seeing Secretariat and more movies from you.
    May God continue to Bless You and Your Family with "success."

    Barb from Southwestern Pennsylvania
  • November 17, 2010 08:43 PM

    by

    Amen! I haven't watch the movie yet, but by just reading all the comments here makes me wanna start watching it. Plus, i love the actors, one of them is John Malcovitch. But more than this is the anticipation of its message for me personally. I would recommend it to my students..How I wish I could work with Director Wallace.
  • November 14, 2010 05:30 PM

    by

    Everyone in the theater clapped when it ended. This movie does move people and gives hope and inspiration in this day of "mostly bad news"! Jesus wants to live in all of us, and will when we ask Him to come in and forgive our sins. THEN, we can live with hope, love and devotion. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Bible).
  • November 14, 2010 02:39 PM

    by

    I saw the movie, Secretariat and I loved every minute of it. It was riveting and heart pounding. I never grew up around horses but I certainly learned to have a much more deeper appreciation for this beautifully majestic animal that GOD has created for mankind. Go and see it i you are animal lover. Not only did show the devotion and love of animals but also one of true devotion and love for family.
  • November 11, 2010 07:17 AM

    by

    The movie you made, makes me even more dedicated to write my book on the person I took in from a terrible place, and had faith in God I could do it with unconditional love , and the Lord behind me. How strange......... I am a descendant of William Wallace, the hero of Scotland. Freedom is given by God.
    The Truth of God's word gives strength to the people who believe on His name.
  • November 09, 2010 11:28 PM

    by

    Secretariat was the best horse ever.Me nad my dad grew up with race horses. I remember a horse name small clue. I was ver young and going threw hard times.God has a way with horses this horse knew I was hurt inside. he use to put his head on my shoulders to comfort my heart when I was was hurting I will never forget it for the rest of my life.thats when Secretariat was running at the time.what an awesome horse he was just like Secretariat ,
  • November 05, 2010 09:21 PM

    by

    Thank you for sharing this review with us. It's nice to know of God honoring entertainment.

    God Bless
  • November 02, 2010 04:12 PM

    by

    I hope that movie will be shown here in the Philippines soon.
  • November 02, 2010 10:24 AM

    by s.goff

    Secretariat was an awesome movie! It was my only wish for my 44th birthday--to see this movie with my family. I certainly got my wish and more. As inspiring as that amazing horse was, Penny was even more of an inspiration for me. She maintained her strength and devotion to her horse, family and cause through her faith with so much grace and courage. She was amazing. Diane Lane did an awesome job. Thank you Randall Wallace for sharing your gifts and talents with us, which bless us and inspire us to do great things. Especially now, in this broken down economy, we all need messages of hope and inspiration. I unfortunately missed the opening statement (Job)--I must have been quieting my 4 yr-old. I won't miss it when I buy it on DVD the day it comes out. I can't wait. Thank you Linda, for writing this article and sharing this message as I had no idea Randall Wallace was a Christian. Randall, please keep up your good works!
  • November 02, 2010 08:24 AM

    by

    Horses are a fun/family activty and the movie, Secretariat was a thrill to watch.
    I saw him years ago at the KY Derby. But the story behind the horse is a treasure.
  • November 02, 2010 08:21 AM

    by

    I saw Secretariat race at the KY Derby and it was a great thrill. Little did I know what a great horse she would become! We owned Arabians in Indiana and the love of horses really gets into your blood. My grand-daughter just got a new horse and it's wonderful how the whole family is in LOVE! It is has brought them all together for a fun "family activity!"
  • November 01, 2010 10:05 AM

    by

    It was an amazing movie. I would recommend it to anyone. In this day and age where parents and children cannot seem to enjoy the same types of entertainment, I was impressed with this one. Although i was too young to remember the real story, my parents do and shared it with me. I am particulary proud that this gentlemen is doing his thing with meaning and purpose as appointed by God. He is definitely being the salt of the earth. May God continue to bless him and his family and his endeavors. And may God continue to be glorified thorough his work and life. Dr. Allen Wesley, MemphisTn
  • October 30, 2010 06:41 PM

    by

    Thank you for blessing me and edifying the Lord thru this beautiful movie. Shannon
  • October 30, 2010 06:57 AM

    by

    My husband (a horse lover) and I ,saw the film last night!
    It was awesome!What a story of faith ,love and trust.The scripture from Job and the sung spiritual were great additions!
    It was filled with emotion and I will see it again!
  • October 29, 2010 08:21 PM

    by

    OIdon't believe I have had a movie move me so much. It was my husbands day off and he wanted to go to the movies. Veryt unusual for us. God was talking to us.


    After the movie we were telling everyone about it. Sharing. Isn't that what we are suppose to do? It felt good. Finally we have good movie.

    Thank you for the chills on my arms.
    Blessings,
    a very touched viewer.







  • October 29, 2010 07:15 PM

    by

    What a wonderful God honoring inspiring movie including Bible verses and the ending song that honors our Lord Jesus and what HE did for us. Please do more.
  • October 29, 2010 03:06 PM

    by

    I saw the movie SECRETARIAT and was thankful for no swearing and the Christian music in it - afterwards, the entire theatre applauded ---it was refreshing to see - thanks.
  • October 28, 2010 02:22 PM

    by

    i can't wait to msee it. I want to only support movies, books , and magazines that have a powerful Godly message!

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