6.2/10
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17 user 10 critic

Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Sport | 21 April 1952 (Sweden)
Tennis prodigy Florence Farley is torn between romance and her mother's ambitions.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Millie Farley
...
Florence Farley
Carleton G. Young ...
Fletcher Locke
...
Gordon McKay
Kenneth Patterson ...
Will Farley
Marcella Cisney ...
Miss Martin
...
J.R. Carpenter
...
Interne
George Fisher ...
Announcer
Arthur Little Jr. ...
Himself - Commentator at Forest Hills
Bert Whitley ...
Young official
Edwin Reimers ...
Announcer
Don Kent ...
Umpire
William Irving ...
Umpire
Barbara Brier ...
Girl
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Storyline

Boy (Gordon) meets girl (Florence), sharing an interest in tennis. But Florence has a supremely ambitious mother who intends to push her ahead regardless (she barely knows her own husband exists). Florence's tennis career rapidly advances, thanks to mother's manipulation and a promotion-minded coach; building toward the inevitable conflict between the fulfilment of Mother's dreams...and daughter's. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Price Of Fame In The Big-Time Sports Racket!

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 April 1952 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Mother of a Champion  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the 34 minute mark of the movie, Florence is playing a match in Seabright, New Jersey. In the crowd shot, there is a cameo by director, Ida Lupino, and fellow actor, Robert Ryan, who are shown applauding for Florence. See more »

Connections

Featured in Howard Hughes: His Women and His Movies (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
There are thin parts, and flat characters, but Trevor is amazing
3 April 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951)

You might not think a tennis movie--that is, a movie about a young girl making her way up the tennis ladder to the championships--would go very far. And this is the main focus for the first half of it. But in the background some relationships are developing, and here is the real meat of this B-movie, with its slightly suggestive title.

At the core is a fairly new kind of stereotypical family, the kind broadened in 1950s television from the Donna Reed Show to My Three Sons to the Brady Bunch--a suburban utopia. Husband and wife in this case are politely happy, and the wife, played brilliantly by Claire Trevor, in particular is secretly frustrated. When her daughter begins her rise in the tennis world, and falls in love with the local pretty boy (a nice guy, too), she starts to be jealous, or at least to see what she's been missing in her own life. And then the power man comes along, a mover and shaker in the tennis world who see the daughter's talent and also the mother's hunger and charm.

It can only get interesting from there, and it does.

The tennis scenes are not terrible, but there are too many of them, I think, and we don't totally care who wins the matches. But again, this is backdrop, and as the ball is hit hard and fast, we see the subplots brood and get interesting, within the limits of the code still holding sway for another decade.

This is an Ida Lupino movie. You might not think it matters that a woman directed a fairly formula kind of film, but there are slight tilts to the attitudes that seem only possible by having a woman (and a woman like Lupino) in charge. And the characters who really rise to the most complexity are women, the daughter to some extent limited by her role as a young and naive whiz, but the mother, for sure. Between Trevor and Lupino we have an interaction that comes alive on screen.


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