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Carol Clayton is the daughter of a horse breeder at Saratoga. Though engaged to wealthy Hartley Madison, and disgusted by bookie Duke Bradley, her father owes Bradley a lot of money and Bradley takes a shine to her. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Jean Harlow's death two-thirds of the way through production was only the first disaster to hit this film. The second, according to a biography of Lionel Barrymore (part of Hollis Alpert's book 'The Barrymores') came when Lionel tripped over a lighting cable and re-broke his hip just before filming wrapped. Barrymore was confined to a wheelchair for the next decade (in addition to the hip injuries, he suffered from arthritis of the knees) before he lost considerable weight and was able to walk with much difficulty for a few more pictures. See more »
In the opening scene, tire tracks from the camera truck are seen on the horse race track. See more »
Pleasant film that becomes more of an curiosity toward the end
Jean Harlow and Clark Gable teamed up for the last time in this light film, "Saratoga," about a young woman, her wealthy fiancée (Walter Pidgeon), and the horse breeding farm deeded to a bookie (Gable) to pay off a gambling debt. Harlow wants to handicap horses and lay bets to pay off the marker, and Gable wants to take her boyfriend on a long ride to poverty by taking his bets.
I can't imagine how disheartening it was for the actors, director, and crew to have to finish the film after Jean Harlow's untimely death. Unfortunately, the film for viewers soon becomes how they camouflaged the fact that her stand-in and a vocal imitator completed the picture. Most disconcerting is a large party scene, where the internal sections feature the stand-in, and the external ones on the terrace are with Harlow. All of the race track scenes were obviously done last, with the stand-in hiding her face with binoculars. And there is one scene where she is completely covered with a picture hat. The character's only appearances at the end of the film are at the race track and, back turned, in the race track office. The ending shot is actually from an earlier scene, or it was done at the same time the earlier scene was filmed.
Despite being ill during the production, Harlow is wonderful in her final role and she and Gable have excellent chemistry. She truly was one of the great screen presences, just delightful in every way. Walter Pidgeon is young and handsome, and despite having to say "I love ya" dozens of times, Gable is likable, relaxed, and handsome. It just all seems very disjointed. And very sad.
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