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The Long Shot is a not bad racetrack story which was an independent
production released by Grand National Studios. Had this film been done
at a major studio with some name stars it might well have become a
Some major players have some roles here like kindly Harry Davenport whose horses have been losing as often as Bing Crosby's if you listened to Bob Hope's monologues back in the day. But there's a reason for it, he's being systematically being victimized as another owner C. Henry Gordon has ruthlessly bribed the jockeys on Davenport's horses and others including young Gordon Jones who likes Davenport's daughter Marsha Hunt.
Gordon's machinations are not just involving the sport of kings. He's got designs on Hunt as well in true Snidely Whiplash tradition.
But the good guys get themselves an equine secret weapon and there's quite a plot hatched against Gordon in the big Santa Anita Handicap. For that you have to see the film.
Nice racing newsreels worked into the story here and the cast is a good one. The Long Shot is a good film and one that those who like the sport of kings will be pleased with.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, this film is proof that while 1939 is a legendary year in
Hollywood history, not everything that debuted that year was gold. This
film, while not bad, wasn't particularly good either and is, at best,
an inoffensive time-passer. Well, not exactly inoffensive...many will
blanch at the black character in the film. He's very stereotypical and
calls his boss "Massa Jeff"...and rather painful to watch.
The film begins with rich horse owner Harry Davenport losing yet another race. His horses just keep losing again and again...until he's broke and miserable. While Davenport's character sees the logic of this next series of moves, I sure didn't. He releases his prize horse into the wild AND fakes his own death.
A bit later, Gordon Jones is down and out after an injury and feeling sorry for himself. He moves in with a jockey friend (George E. Stone--who, while small, is way too big to be a jockey at 5' 3½") and soon discovers the prize horse in a roundup of wild horses. He buys it for a pittance because he sees potential in the animal. Soon, Marsha Hunt (Davenport's granddaughter) meets up with old friend Jones (who, incidentally, was hurt saving her life) and they form a partnership--and plan to race their new horse.
Along the way, there is a baddie who is apparently quite the cheat and was responsible for Davenport's losses--paying the jockey to throw the races. So it's up to Hunt and Jones to win the "big race" and save the day.
The film is jam-packed with clichés, a bit simple but also pleasant and watchable. For someone who isn't too demanding or loves old movies (even the fair ones), this is worth a look. Just don't expect GONE WITH THE WIND or GOODBYE MR. CHIPS!
UPDATE: I just watched Frank Capra's Broadway BILL (1934). I was surprised to see that major portions of this film were the same as LONG SHOT! So much for originality.
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