Ruby falls in love with small-time con man Eddie. During a botched blackmail scheme, Eddie accidentally kills the man they were setting up. Eddie takes off and Ruby is sent to a reformatory for two years.
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Vittorio De Sica
Valued thoroughbred mare Southern Queen slips and falls in a mud puddle, breaking her leg. Before she is destroyed, she gives birth to Tommy Boy, who becomes the favorite of his owner, horse breeder Jim Rellence. Ultimately a reluctant Rellence is forced to sell the one-year old to a prominent sportsman, and Tommy enters the world of high stakes racing. He goes through a variety of owners, all of whom have their own selfish agenda for the horse. Ultimately he ends up with Ruby, the mistress of a murdered racketeer, who wants Tommy to fulfill his true potential as a stakes horse and enters him in the Kentucky Derby. Written by
Some of the location shots are clearly out of focus, but for whatever reason, they were obviously not reshot. MGM under production chief Irving Thalberg was noted for his use of retakes, so this is an unusual situation. See more »
As Ernest Torrence is sitting and negotiating for the sale of Tommy Boy, his pipe switches from his left to right hand and his julep switches from right to left. See more »
Since the beginning of Time the Horse has been Man's loyal friend... But Man has not always been the Friend the Horse has to Man...
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...to Man-O'-War, Zev, Crusader, Fair Play, Gallant Fox, Twenty-Grand and all the heroes of the turf and track, this record is reverently dedicated. See more »
SPORTING BLOOD is a story of a struggle for redemption of a horse and its owner.
SPORTING BLOOD which stars Madge Evans and Clark Gable is a film with its central thesis being the struggle for redemption of both an abused race horse named "Tommy Boy" and its owner Madge Evans. This film fairly bursts with love for horses and horse racing. In fact, the first thirty minutes are devoted to horses without any appearance on the part of the two stars. When they do enter the story, we immediately are thrust into a world of gangsters and their associates, including both Evans and Gable. Each has made compromises in order to get where they are. She sees a chance to straighten her life out when she inherits "Tommy Boy." The question is... can she? And what of her relationship with Gable? Is there enough decency left in him to chart a new course?
This film is a classic example of the old studio system at work. Both Madge Evans, and Clark Gable, were brand new at MGM. The studio bosses weren't at all sure how well either star would fare with the public. Hence, though each was working on another picture, the studio assigned them to work on weekends and holidays when they filmed SPORTING BLOOD. Only in Hollywood!
In fact, there is a sense of freshness about this film. It hasn't the ordinary Hollywood veneer to it. It makes no pretensions and avoids clichés typical of so many similar films of the 1930s. Evans and Gable are absolutely marvelous in their respective roles. Evans is especially fresh and beautiful. But... it is the way blacks are treated in this film that set it apart from most films of its time. "Tommy Boy's" trainer, Uncle Ben is black. He is as far removed from Stepin Fetchit as a teacher is from an illiterate. Indeed, Uncle Ben is central to the plot... and in as loving a manner as could be imagined. This alone sets out SPORTING BLOOD as a better film by far than many others of its day.
Finally, the camera technology was fairly crude in 1931. Film speeds were slow and the cameras sometimes weighed five hundred pounds. Remember this when you watch the racing scenes. The photography is impressive.
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