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In the early 1920s, in the desert near the Texas-Mexico border, Charley Eagle (Anthony Quinn), is Indian who owns a small, hardscrabble ranch and is training a horse, "Black Hope,". He thinks that the horse is capable of running in, and winning, the Kentucky Derby. Charley runs into a young Chinese boy, David Chung ('Ducky' Louie), whose father has been killed by a smuggling gang, while pretending to help him enter the United States illegally. Charlie takes the young boy back to his small ranch, where Charley and his wife, Sarah (Katherine DeMille) adopt him. His plans for "Black Hope" go awry but oil is discovered on his land and this intensifies his dreams that "Black Gold" (Highland Dale,) the colt of "Black Hope" can do what his sire couldn't do. The end frame of the film reads:"Suggested by the winning of the 1924 Kentucky Derby by the horse "Black Gold." Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although far from the real story of the Kentucky Derby winner Black Gold, this very first film released under the banner of Allied Artists the newly reconstituted Monogram Pictures was an important one for its star Anthony Quinn. It was the very first time that Quinn got top billing in any film. It was also a family project as it starred Quinn's first wife as well Katharine DeMille. They play an Indian couple on a reservation, he an illiterate happy go lucky cuss who has an itch to wander and she a reservation educated person. The two complement each other beautifully on screen.
And he happens to own a thoroughbred mare who through a combination of circumstances gets mated to a champion stallion. The mare dies, but the result is a colt named Black Gold. The Quinn's adopted Chinese immigrant son Ducky Louie becomes his jockey.
Black Gold's story, the real one, was given us by another reviewer and maybe that film should be made by a bigger studio and maybe it will some day. As for this one for a Monogram Picture it had for them probably a big budget. They even splurged for color. But the Quinns and Ducky Louie really put this film over as fine family entertainment. And I'm a sucker for a good racetrack story every time.
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