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>
This was Allied Artists "first film":....it was really a Monogram Picture and this was the first release in 1947,under their new name for their 'better' product ALLIED ARTISTS. It was a fairly expensive film for them then ($450K) and filmed in colour. As a film it is a very effective multicultural experience and it is a credit to them to take such a risk on what one would think was then un marketable themes: illegal immigrant Chinese boy is adopted by land owning red Indian family, who send him to school. Kid gets taunted because of his new family and Chinese face. Pop, Anthony Quinn discovers oil on the farm and gets rich. They buy a racehorse and it becomes a champ and they become richer! Racial prejudice gets and airing too when they enter' society'. All quite startling and effectively handled. For these themes to be their first high profile calling card, AA/Monogram get a good report and deserve recognition for their worthy ideals. It is worth noting the interesting films Monogram decided to make as Allied Artists in their first few years, as THE GANGSTER and IT HAPPENED ON 5TH AVENUE attest. BLACK GOLD seems corny by today's cynicism, but the was a deserving hit for them. Like Republic's COME NEXT SPRING, a real Americana treat if you can find it and just enjoy.
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