Friday, July 2, 2010

Thoroughbreds Don't Cry (1937) - Judy Garland Mickey Rooney

Plot Summary - Horse racing melodrama/light musical, starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. English teen Roger (Ronald Sinclair) heads for California with his grandfather Sir Peter Calverton (C. Aubrey Smith) to race their beloved prize horse "the Pookah" in the "American Cup". Roger sets out to recruit skilled, but cocky, jockey Timmie Donovan (Mickey Rooney) - known as a big "swellhead" - to ride the Pookah in the race. Roger heads into Mother Ralph's boarding house for jockeys, gets invited to dinner by niece Cricket West (Judy Garland), a teen with a great singing voice and ambitions to become a singer and actress (she's a bit of a show-off). After Roger gets poked around by all for his short pants and British accent, a couple of black eyes later and Timmie ends up agreeing to ride Roger's horse. They soon become good pals, but things start to go wrong when Timmie is tricked into believing his father is dying and in need of an expensive iron lung, and the only way to get the money for dad is to "throw a race". Dad is actually a professional gambler/bad man and not even ill, Timmy makes the Pookah lose in a preliminary race for America's Cup, then all seems lost when he ends up removed as a jockey and thrown off the course right before the big race. But luckily Roger has been taking jockey lessons from Timmy, and decides to go ahead and ride the Pookah in the race himself!

Review - A cute, light entertainment, the film boosted up by the star quality of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland (she received top billing here, though I would have liked to have seen her with a bit more to do), plus a great cast of character actors (Sophie Tucker as Mother Ralph/Aunt Edie is quite amusing here). Ronald Sinclair is very good too and gives a nice, realistic quality in his performance as the young Englishman, including a scene with some very innocent flirtations between him and Judy's character. Many scenes in the movie are filmed on-location at the brand new Santa Anita racetrack. Wonderful Judy shines, as usual, singing "Got a Pair of New Shoes" several times during the film, including the opening titles. Mickey Rooney energetically steals the film, as usual. Rating - 8/10 stars

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