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F. Hugh Herbert
Boots Malone is jockey's agent and a bit of a wheeler-dealer who went from living at the Ritz to living in a room at the stables when his star jockey was killed in an accident. After nearly three years, he has yet to find a replacement for him. Along with his cronies at the track, he manages to buy a horse that's a bit of a sleeper. Their hopes of cashing in big take a positive turn when Boots decides to train an eager young man, who turns out to be a runaway from a rich family, as a jockey. When gangsters tell Boots to throw the race in favor of another horse, he faces a major dilemma. Written by
Very little stands out in this film except the soundtrack.
Here is a film of stereotypes-an innocent, wide-eyed lad who wants to become a jockey (Johnny Stewart); a cynical manager who is down on his luck (William Holden); an avaricious owner of horses (Ed Begley). The script is incompetent with unbelievable responses to situations, with solutions that are too easy. The direction is pedestrian and the camera work uninspired. This is typical 50s escapist fare that fails to look at the underlying problems of the leads. A great cast of character actors is wasted-Harry Morgan, Ralph Dumke, Ed Begley and Basil Ruysdael (who does the most with his role as Preacher). However, listen to this early score by Elmer Bernstein, an indication of greater soundtracks to come. The movie, however, is watchable but with no scene memorable.
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