Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sporting Blood

Comcast description of movie: Racetrack yarn with Clark Gable as a gambler who saves a horse from mistreatment.

My description of movie: The life and times of a horse named Tommy Boy. Clark Gable shows up half way through.

I was a little wary of watching this movie during the first couple minutes, because it has animals in it and I know the studios did not treat them well back then, and thus today we have the disclaimer "no animals were harmed..." (dear God, 20th Century Fox, you rode a blindfolded horse off a cliff to its death?).

In the first 10 minutes, Tommy Boy's mother Southern Queen falls down in the mud while trotting back to the stable, and you can see, briefly, that she appears to be tied down by her back leg as she thrashes in the puddle and stuggles to get up. Sadly, her leg is broken, and she has to be shot right there on the spot, leaving our hero, Tommy Boy, an newborn foal without a mother.

The owner of the horse farm, Jim Rellence, (scenes are actually filmed in Kentucky) where Tommy is raised loves him very much, but he eventually has to sell him because he needs the money. The new owner (whose name escapes me) ends up selling Tommy to a spolied rich woman (Marie Prevost) and her husband (Hallam Cooley), who obviously know nothing about taking care of a horse.

"I don't want him anymore. Just shoot him!" (Sadly, an actual quote.)
After Tommy loses a race, they lose interest and sell Tommy to a crooked gambler, Tip Scanlon (Lew Cody) who runs the horse into the ground with doping and too much racing. Before he's killed over a bad bet, he gives the horse to his girlfriend Ruby (Madge Evans) who decides to rehabiliate Tommy, and herself and ends up reforming slightly crooked gambler Rid Riddell (Clark Gable) in the process.

It's one of those feel-good animal movies, and apparently based on a true story of a horse named Sporting Blood and his owner, gangster Arnold Rothstein, who brought us the 1919 Black Sox scandal, so I suppose doping a racehorse and fixing a race should come as no surprise.

Best part of the credits: Tommy Boy played "By Himself." Nothing like starring in the movie of your own inspirational life story. ;)

Cute picture, although this is not actually Tommy Boy.

1 comment:

Sam [also known as Harry] said...

I believe my ex-wife used that exact quote... ;o)