Thursday, June 8, 2017

THE JUDY GARLAND BLOGATHON: Thoroughbreds Don't Cry (1937)



Crystal of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood is hosting a blogathon tribute to Judy Garland running from June 8 - 10. Click HERE to enjoy the appreciations.


Cricket West. Isn't that a darling name for a darling girl? Cricket is the character 15-year-old Judy Garland plays in 1937s Thoroughbreds Don't Cry. This MGM "young people" showcase is the first film to feature Judy and frequent co-star Mickey Rooney.




Our three main characters are unencumbered by parents. Roger Calverton is played by Ronald Sinclair of the Five Little Peppers movies. Roger is an orphaned rich boy who lives with his grandfather Sir Peter played by C. Aubrey Smith. The Calvertons arrive in America for the racing season with groom Wilkins and race horse Pooka. Searching for the best jockey, they settle on Tim Donovan played by Mickey Rooney. Timmy is a swell-headed kid who is really a softy at heart. A friendship strikes up between the two vastly different youngsters. Roger wants to emulate the jockey he idolizes and Timmy yearns for education and the opportunity to rub off his rough edges.

Cricket is the girl in the middle. She lives with her aunt, played by Sophie Tucker, who runs a boarding house for jockeys. Cricket is someday going to be a great singer or actress, or both! She is given to bursting into melodramatic speeches or into song upon a moment's notice. She stands up to trouble. She sticks up for her friends. And she has a thing for Roger. He rather likes her as well. What could possibly go wrong with this set-up?




Timmy was a kid when his father abandoned him and when that father played by Charles D. Brown shows up in our picture you can bet it means nothing but trouble. The older Donovan uses trickery and sentiment to get Timmy to throw a race. Feigning illness he convinces Timmy that the only way to get needed funds for medical attention is for Timmy to throw the big race. Facing the prospect of his father's life on the line, Timmy agrees. When the Pooka looses, old Sir Calverton dies of a heart attack. Roger is left with nothing and must sell the horse. Not if Timmy has anything to say about it! There are more double-crosses than you can shake a stick at and, as you can well imagine, it all works out in the end following an exciting horse race.

Sophie Tucker is a riot as the pushy and self-assured aunt. It is a shame and truly a missed opportunity that she didn't have a solo number or even a duet with young Judy. Also outstanding in support as the maid at the boarding house is Helen Troy. Her mile-a-minute stream-of-consciousness routines are very funny.

Judy's big number in the movie is Got a Pair of New Shoes by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. It is played over the opening credits, the closing credits and in a very cute bit in the film. Everything Judy does in this film is a precursor of the singer/actress we will come to love in countless films over the next decades. Her winning personality and her outsized talent leave no doubt that Judy Garland was on her way to show business immortality.




PS: Look for Elisha Cook Jr. at the dinner table, and George Chandler, Chester Clute, Jack Norton and even Francis X. Bushman at the track.







20 comments:

  1. Great review! Judy was Miss Sassy here, but it's hilarious lol. I've only seen bits of this movie--it looks fun. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wasn't she ever little Miss Sassy! Such energy, and so adorable.

      You know you are watching one of MGMs programmers, but it doesn't feel that way. Quality throughout. They really knew how to showcase their talent.

      Delete
  2. Whoever did that poster made them all look exactly alike. Not very flattering to poor Judy.

    Cricket is a very good name for a character.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. Not the best example of Hollywood poster art. Have to say I didn't see any that really spoke to me. Maybe with built-in theaters for their product, the studio didn't pay much attention to promoting the second string features.

      Judy and Cricket are adorable.

      Delete
  3. I've seen all but a handful of Judy's films, and this is one of them. She and Mickey were such a fun team, weren't they? Luckily, TCM plays this film fairly often so I'm sure I'll see it one of these days. (So many films, so little time...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't miss it the next time it comes around. Thoroughbreds Don't Cry is a swift 80 minutes out of your day. When I'm shopping I check the price tag and then the size. When I'm choosing a movie, often it comes down to running time.

      Delete
  4. This sounds wonderful. I'm definitely going to try track it down. Lovely post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much. It is a little charmer and also fun knowing all of the work the future holds for Judy and Mickey.

      Delete
  5. Hi Caftan Woman. Here is another one to add to my list. I like quick programmers that get to the point. This sounds like fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Between the energy of Mickey and Judy, and the character actors showing up all over the place, this is just what the doctor ordered.

      Delete
  6. This was a fun film to watch and I loved it when Judy started doing Sophie Tucker style-singing, belting out tunes with her arms outstretched. Cricket West, that sure is a cute name!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think Judy could have been any more appealing. It was a grand showcase.

      Delete
  7. It's one of the best Judy-Mickey movies, but I don't know about Cricket as a girl's name (though it worked for Connie Stevens on TV...).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think "Cricket" would work for just anybody, but it's adorable for Judy and Connie.

      Delete
  8. Great review! I love how sassy Judy was when she was younger. It's so nice to see Mickey and Joots in the very beginning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks.

      Such phenomenal talent and chemistry. We're so lucky they ended up at the same place.

      Delete
  9. This sounds delightful, and what a terrific cast! You've made me realize that I really don't know much about Sophie Tucker's filmography, and I'm off to do an online search.

    I'm another one who loves the name "Cricket" for Judy Garland.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is a delightful movie. MGM really did well by their young talent.

      I now picture you perfecting a Sophie Tucker impersonation.

      Delete
  10. I think I haven't seen any film with Judy made before 1939, but I surely heard her recordings. It's amazing how clear her voice was at 15, and how much talent she already showcased. Great review, short and sweet.
    Kisses!
    Le

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Short and sweet, just like the movie. I bet you'll be checking out a few of Judy's earlier pictures before very long.

      Delete

THE DUO DOUBLE FEATURE BLOGATHON: Susan Hayward and Tyrone Power in Rawhide (1951) and Untamed (1955)

The Flapper Dame and Phyllis Loves Classic Movies have come up with a fabulous idea. It is The Duo Double Feature Blogathon , and it ...