Gloria is a young woman of the Depression. She has aged beyond her years and feels her life is hopeless, having been cheated and betrayed many times in her past. While recovering from a suicide attempt, she gets the idea from a movie magazine to head for Hollywood to make it as an actress. Robert is a desperate Hollywood citizen trying to become a director, never doubting he'll make it. Robert and Gloria meet and decide to enter a dance marathon, one of the crazes of the 1930's. The grueling dancing takes its toll on Gloria's already weakened spirit, and she tells Robert that she'd be better off dead, that her life is hopeless - all the while acting cruelly and bitterly, alienating those around her, trying to convince him to shoot her and put her out of her misery. After all, they shoot horses, don't they? Written by
The title has been parodied over the decades by Fonda picketers carrying signs with the slogan "They Shoot Traitors, Don't They?". See more »
Robert tells Gloria about a film he saw starring Anita Louise and Richard Cromwell in which Anita Louise's character has a brain tumor. However, Louise and Cromwell only made two films together, Most Precious Thing in Life and The Villain Still Pursued Her. The depression-era dance marathon, which is the subject of the film, presumably takes place in 1932. Earlier in the movie, we hear Mrs. Layton tell Robert and Gloria that they are her favorite couple because they are number 67, the same year that she was born (1867). Shortly thereafter, Gloria tells Robert that she's figured out Mrs. Layton is 65-years-old. Sixty-five years after 1867 is 1932, which is prior to either of the Louise/Cromwell films. See more »
This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. Set in the 1930s, it revoleved around a group of people entering/running a depression dance marathon. The group entering the contest(The principle characters being Fonda, Sarrazin, York, Buttons, Bedilia, Fields)Can't pass up the seven meals a day, or the top prize of 1500 dollars, no matter how grueling the dance will be. Fonda, is a drifter looking for money, Sarrazin wanders into the contest by accident, York and Fields are an actor and actress hoping to be "Discovered", and Buttons is also looking for money. The management of the contest is represented by Young, Lewis, and (To a lesser extent)Conrad. While this is not a "Pick me up" movie, it is definitely worth seeing. The cast is excellent, and the movie moves along well. Director Sydney Pollack filmed the movie in sequence, which helps to show the fatigue that the characters are feeling. They Shoot horses was nominated for nine academy awards, inglinging Best actress(Fonda), Best Supporting Actress(York) and Best Director(Pollack).
However, only Gig Young walked away with the statuette(For best Supporting Actor) and he deserved every inch of it. Playing against typecasting, he knew he was getting the role of a lifetime and he gives one of the best performance of his career. I actually liked Rocky, with his White Tux and his "Yowza!Yowza!Yowza!" I don't know if I would have liked the character if Gig Young had not been in the role.
Overall, this movie is definitely worth seeing. If you have a chance, give it a look.
10/10 ***** out of *****
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