May 1, 2009

Poor Judy Garland...

Thoroughbreds Don't Cry
1937

Imagine my surprise and total joy when I woke up this morning and discovered that TCM was playing all of these old horse racing movies for hours on end. I immediately set the DVR to record all of them, and I am so glad I did.

First up is Thoroughbreds Don't Cry, a movie that is supposed to revolve around Judy Garland, but manages to ignore her almost completely. Instead it focuses on thirteen-year-old Ronald Sinclair, a boy I was sure was a girl for the first thirty minutes of the movie. Literally, I discarded every time someone called him Roger or son or lad, deciding that everyone in this movie was insane instead. Roger is supposed to be English, but instead of speaking with a distinct accent he talks with the whiny, lilting voice of a main female protagonist. If you have seen any movie from the 1930s, you know what I'm talking about. It was mesmerizing and hilarious...to me, anyway. (This observation is important later, trust me.)

Anyway, Roger's grandfather decides to take their horse, The Pookah, to America for "the Cup" or "American Cup" or something entirely fictional. Roger is elated! He squeals and tosses his homework in the air, joyful that they are going on a long steamship cruise across the Atlantic. Once there, they take a long train ride across the country to what appears to be Santa Anita, where they find Timmie Donovan (Mickey Rooney), the hot shot jockey they immediately want for their horse. Roger is dispatched to convince Timmie to ride The Pookah, but he is rebuffed because Timmie thinks he's too important to listen to some androgynous kid who speaks with perfect grammar. Roger winds up at the boarding house where Timmie lives, meets Judy Garland, and proceeds to be mocked by just about everyone for obvious reasons.

Then Timmie arrives! They immediately get into a fight. I can't remember why, actually, because I was too busy laughing. Judy Garland convinces Timmie to go apologize, and Timmie does, by which I mean they get into another slapping/groping battle in the middle of the street. Roger yells, "I'm going to take boxing lessons and then really hit you!" at some point, and they slap at each other some more. It was like they were fighting as an excuse to touch each other...a classic teenager thing that I think we're all well versed in, right? Eventually Roger (this is so impossible, but I'll go along with it) wins the fight and convinces Timmie to go talk to his grandfather. They convince him to ride The Pookah and Roger gets Timmie to teach him how to race ride.

Tomorrow dawns with both boys riding a horse. This scene, and the scene after it, is priceless. So priceless that I don't have words. And, as is always the case with these things, YouTube always comes through.



So. What more do I have to say about this movie? Plot comes along and derails the homoeroticism for a while, but the rest of the movie is just as hilarious. I loved this movie, actually, and not just for the thinly veiled sexual overtures that probably went right over the heads of most people in 1937. At one point, Roger is forced to ride The Pookah in the big race at the end, and he's so prissy he has to yell in his prim voice, "Allow me racing room, please!" and I just fell apart again.

See this movie. You will not be disappointed.

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