Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Ronald Sinclair, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland
THOROUGHBREDS DON'T CRY (1937). Director: Alfred E. Green.

Young Roger Calverton (Ronald Sinclair) travels to America in the company of his beloved grandfather (C. Aubrey Smith); the old man's employee, Wilkins (Forrester Harvey); and their horse, which they hope to enter in a race. They induce a  brash jockey, Timmie Donovan (Mickey Rooney) to ride the horse, but fate intervenes in the form of Timmie's miserable father (Charles D. Brown), who claims he desperately needs an iron lung or else he'll die. Timmie is importuned to throw the race, leading to tragedy ... Thoroughbreds Don't Cry was an early hit for Rooney, but he's also got Judy Garland (their very first teaming) -- who for once isn't in love with Rooney's character -- and the inestimable Ronald Sinclair, who proves more than a match for Rooney's thespian skill. Sophie Tucker makes her mark as the woman who runs the boarding house where many jockeys, and Garland, live. Garland does a great rendition of "Goin' to Town." Frankie Darro appears briefly as another nasty jockey. Darro and especially Sinclair were extremely talented child actors, but the former was often relegated to bit parts as he got older, and Sinclair retired from acting only five years later, becoming an editor and producer of several Roger Corman flicks and working on everything from The Amazing Colossal Man to Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikimi Machine to Island Claws. Despite some charming moments and the uniformly excellent acting from the cast, Thoroughbreds can't quite seem to overcome its dated quality, and the whole movie at times seems a little unreal.

Verdict: Not Mickey's best. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Have not seen this one in a long long time. Rooney, Garland and Bartholomew were so young.

Just bought the Rooney Garland DVD collection, though, featuring all their great Busby Berkeley films. Looking forward to seeing them again and hopefully and writing about them.


William said...

Please do! I'd love to read your reaction to them. They can be dated but always charmingg and with lots of talent on view. Coincidentally I got their collection out of the library and have been looking at them the past couple of weeks, with more to come. next -- Girl Crazy!