Black Gold (1947)
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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.
No DVD or video and not very likely one will appear real soon. Look for it on the late, late show sometime. It's good family viewing with a definite anti-racist message along with a bittersweet ending.
And of course, the only thing this has to do with the actual 1924 Kentucky Derby winner, Black Gold, is the horse has the same name and was owned by an Indian (in reality, a Cherokee named Al Hoots. He was dead before Black Gold won the Derby and that's about all he has in common with "Charley Eagle.") The movie can't even be bothered to get the Derby roses the right color (unless the film stock is SO degraded those were red at some point.) Even the softened-up version of the horse's story told in Marguerite Henry's "Black Gold" is more accurate than this disaster area. This is an excellent example of a case where just because you have some spare money and actors on contract does not mean you have to make a movie.
Anthony Quinn is a very spiritual man, away from home when he meets orphaned Chinese teen Dickie Louie. Embittered over the white man's murder of his father, Louie can't even bear to eat until Quinn tells him his own dealings with the white man. Quinn has learned that peace only comes from forgiveness, and he also knows that for every evil white man are ten good ones.
Happily married to the gorgeous Katherine DeMille (Quinn's real life wife at the time), Quinn brings Louie home, and makes him their ward. Sadly, Louie finds nothing but prejudice, ridiculed for being Chinese as he attempts to start school, and instead skips. Teacher Elyse Knox shows up and promises that things will be different. Unfortunately, the script overlooks Louie returning to school, basically giving the assumption that Knox worked on educating Louie's harasser, played by Darryl Hickman.
The remainder of the film shows how Quinn and DeMille adopt Louie and how Quinn influences him in his love of horses. Quinn strikes it rich with oil found on his property but a chance in his financial situation isn't a cause for celebration. The white men who earlier treated him as second class come around, and it is obvious that it isn't his character which impresses them but his sudden bankroll. Tragedy strikes the family, and it is up to Louie to show that dignity and grace come from rising above the odds and that the so-called "little man" can be just as worthy as the so-called big men.
Outstanding performances by Quinn, De Mille and especially Louie make this a wonderful sleeper, a rare "A" picture from the studio formerly known as Monogram. The Cinecolor process really stands out here, having been tested in such films as " The Enchanted Forest" and a version of "Black Beauty". Treat your family to a real reminder of what life really can be like with God's world as your backyard, and life's many other problems fall into perspective.