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Three Men on a Horse (1936)

Approved  |   |  Comedy  |  21 November 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 230 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 1 critic

A meek salesman with an uncanny ability to pick horses is virtually kidnapped by a trio of gamblers.




(screen play), (from the play by), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Carol Hughes ...
Audrey Trowbridge
Sam Levene ...
Teddy Hart ...
Edgar Kennedy ...
Paul Harvey ...
Clarence Dobbins
Moses (as Eddie Anderson)
Virginia Sale ...
Ottola Nesmith ...
Head Nurse (as Tola Nesmith)
Eily Malyon ...
Miss Burns


Erwin Trowbridge is a meek salesman blessed with the ability to predict winners in horse races. Even though he only dopes them out on paper and never actually bets, his wife is suspicious of his interest in horses and he's continuously bullied and browbeaten by his overbearing brother-in-law. Seeking solace in a few drinks in a local saloon, a trio of degenerate Runyonesque gamblers discover his talent and keep him a virtual prisoner in a room above the bar where they pressure him to continue to feed them his picks. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

21 November 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

3 Men on a Horse  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA at the Playhouse Theater on 30 January 1935 and closed on 9 January 1937 after 835 performances. Teddy Hart and Sam Levene originated their movie roles in the play, and the cast also included Shirley Booth as Mabel, and Millard Mitchell as Charlie. The popular play had Broadway revivals in 1942, 1970 and 1993. See more »


Frankie: Green is a restful color.
See more »


Referenced in The Odd Couple: Two Men on a Hoarse (1975) See more »


Music by Harry Warren
Played on the radio when Mabel performs her act for Erwin
See more »

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User Reviews

No Stars To Get In The Way
18 April 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

In adapting Three Men On A Horse for the screen Jack Warner took a big chance in not having one of his box office leads headline in this film. Instead Three Men On A Horse remains pretty faithful to the Broadway play and gives some of the character people under contract at Warner Brothers a chance to shine on their own. I don't know about you, but personally I like these kind of films where all these performers with a particular shtick get to outdo the other.

The nominal lead is Frank McHugh and it seemed like either he or Alan Hale appeared in every Warner Brothers production of consequence for a while. McHugh plays the typical henpecked milquetoast who does poetry for greeting cards for a living and grossly underpaid for his originality and he has a genius at doping out winning horses. But that's only a hobby, he never bets himself.

But when Damon Runyon like characters Sam Levene, Teddy Hart, and Allen Jenkins find out about his 'hobby' one night in the Hotel Lavalliere Bar, these three gibbronis decide to ride along on a winning thing. They kidnap the poor schlimiel, but treat him ever so gently and cater to his whims which aren't all that much. Along for the ride are Joan Blondell as Levene's girlfriend, Eddie Anderson as the hotel porter and elevator operator and Edgar Kennedy the bartender.

But there's more than that here. Frantically looking for McHugh who's disappeared is his wife, Carol Hughes and his boss Guy Kibbee. And also on the scene is McHugh's brother-in-law Paul Harvey who doesn't think much of him. Actually Harvey's blowhard character is my favorite in this film.

Amazingly enough it all kind of works out for McHugh in the end. But you have to see the film to find out. And I mean HAVE to see the film which is a real treat with some of the best character players ever on screen in the golden age of the studio system all in one film.

And no big stars to get in their way.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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