EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|SPORTING BLOOD (director/writer: Charles Brabin; screenwriter: story "Horseflesh" by Frederick Hazlitt Brennan/Willard Mack/Wanda Tuchock; cinematographer: Harold Rosson; editor: William S. Gray; music: William Axt; cast: Clark Gable (Warren "Rid" Riddell), Ernest Torrence (Jim Rellence), Madge Evans (Missy Ruby), Lew Cody (Tip Scanlon), Marie Prevost (Angela Ludeking); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; MGM; 1931)|
is the flick that earned the up-and-coming Gable top-billing."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An exciting old-fashioned
race horse drama involving
a race at the Kentucky Derby for the featured thoroughbred, Tommy Boy.
Director Charles Brabin ("The Bridge of
San Luis Rey"/"The Mask of Fu Manchu"/"A Wicked Woman") gives it a
sporty look, and Clark Gable (not
yet sporting his trademark mustache) shows us some star power charisma as to
why in the future he'll be a superstar. This is the flick that earned
the up-and-coming Gable top-billing, after going from playing thugs to
a supporting player to the glamor gal stars. Sporting Blood is based on
the book "Horseflesh" by
Frederick Hazlitt Brennan,
and is cowritten by Brabin, Willard
Mack and Wanda Tuchock.
Riddell (Clark Gable) is a shifty casino card dealer, who works
for a crooked owner, Tip
Scanlon (Lew Cody). The unscrupulous Tip obtains Tommy Boy, a champion racehorse, who was sold few
times by his honest wealthy owners, and abuses the race horse by
drugging him to fix races so the horse can win. But when the horse
loses a big stake race after being drugged, Tip now fears the mob will
be after him for losing a lot of money on his false tip and he lays the
horse on his casino dealer Missy
Ruby (Madge Evans). Ruby is someone whom Rid loves, but she
doesn't completely trust him. Tip is soon bumped-off by the mob and
Ruby is now really the owner of the horse. She successfully maneuvers to get the former
honest horse breeder owner of the horse, Jim Rellence (Ernest Torrence), to get the abused horse in shape for the
climactic Churchill Downs race and the kindly breeder trains him on his
grounds and Ruby stays there to get her own life back together in such
a healthy climate. But Rid schemes with Tip's thugs to bribe the jockey
to fix the race so that Tommy Boy loses. It then becomes a question if
Rid's love for Ruby is stronger than his desire to be a crook, as the
race is run and we wonder whether or not Tommy Boy will win and if Rid
turned over a new leaf by going straight.
The horse-racing yarn is
helped by the high energy performances of the actors and its quick
pace, as its unremarkable story is not a winner but at least the
overall quality of the pic allows it to finish in the money.
REVIEWED ON 8/5/2010 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ