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15 user 5 critic

Sporting Blood (1931)

Passed | | Drama, Romance, Sport | 8 August 1931 (USA)
The saga of thoroughbred Tommy Boy, born in a rain puddle, and his various owners as he evolves into a a champion stakes horse.

Director:

Charles Brabin

Writers:

Frederick Hazlitt Brennan (story "Horseflesh"), Charles Brabin (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Clark Gable ... Warren 'Rid' Riddell
Ernest Torrence ... Mr. Jim Rellence
Madge Evans ... Miss 'Missy' Ruby
Lew Cody ... Tip Scanlon
Marie Prevost ... Angela 'Angie' Ludeking
Hallam Cooley ... Bill Ludeking
J. Farrell MacDonald ... MacGuire (as J. Farrell McDonald)
John Larkin ... Uncle Ben
Eugene Jackson Eugene Jackson ... Sam 'Sammy'
Tommy Boy Tommy Boy ... Tommy Boy
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Curtis ... Charles Curtis, Vice-President of the United States, at Kentucky Derby (archive footage)
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Storyline

Valued thoroughbred mare Southern Queen slips and falls in a mud puddle, breaking her leg. Before she is destroyed, she gives birth to Tommy Boy, who becomes the favorite of his owner, horse breeder Jim Rellence. Ultimately a reluctant Rellence is forced to sell the one-year old to a prominent sportsman, and Tommy enters the world of high stakes racing. He goes through a variety of owners, all of whom have their own selfish agenda for the horse. Ultimately he ends up with Ruby, the mistress of a murdered racketeer, who wants Tommy to fulfill his true potential as a stakes horse and enters him in the Kentucky Derby. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Sport

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 August 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vollblut See more »

Filming Locations:

Kentucky, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$302,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first feature film in which Clark Gable received top billing even though he doesn't appear until almost halfway into the movie. See more »

Goofs

When Southern Queen falls in the mud, a trip wire is clearly visible on the horse's hind leg. See more »

Quotes

Warren 'Rid' Riddell: [Seeing Ruby taking a drink out of a flask in the back of Scanlon's limo] Aw, don't do that, Ruby!
Miss 'Missy' Ruby: Why not?
Warren 'Rid' Riddell: I hate to see anyone hit the hootch the way you do.
Miss 'Missy' Ruby: You don't know how bad I need this drink.
Warren 'Rid' Riddell: It's not good medicine.
Miss 'Missy' Ruby: It is for what ails me.
Warren 'Rid' Riddell: What's that?
Miss 'Missy' Ruby: You.
See more »

Crazy Credits

...to Man-O'-War, Zev, Crusader, Fair Play, Gallant Fox, Twenty-Grand and all the heroes of the turf and track, this record is reverently dedicated. See more »

Connections

Remade as Sporting Blood (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night
(1853)
Written by Stephen Foster
In the score for the opening scene at Jim's horse farm
Reprised in the score when Tommy Boy leaves the farm
Reprised in the score when Tommy Boy returns to the farm
Reprised in the score at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
SPORTING BLOOD is a story of a struggle for redemption of a horse and its owner.
29 June 2004 | by piccadillyjimSee all my reviews

SPORTING BLOOD which stars Madge Evans and Clark Gable is a film with its central thesis being the struggle for redemption of both an abused race horse named "Tommy Boy" and its owner Madge Evans. This film fairly bursts with love for horses and horse racing. In fact, the first thirty minutes are devoted to horses without any appearance on the part of the two stars. When they do enter the story, we immediately are thrust into a world of gangsters and their associates, including both Evans and Gable. Each has made compromises in order to get where they are. She sees a chance to straighten her life out when she inherits "Tommy Boy." The question is... can she? And what of her relationship with Gable? Is there enough decency left in him to chart a new course?

This film is a classic example of the old studio system at work. Both Madge Evans, and Clark Gable, were brand new at MGM. The studio bosses weren't at all sure how well either star would fare with the public. Hence, though each was working on another picture, the studio assigned them to work on weekends and holidays when they filmed SPORTING BLOOD. Only in Hollywood!

In fact, there is a sense of freshness about this film. It hasn't the ordinary Hollywood veneer to it. It makes no pretensions and avoids clichés typical of so many similar films of the 1930s. Evans and Gable are absolutely marvelous in their respective roles. Evans is especially fresh and beautiful. But... it is the way blacks are treated in this film that set it apart from most films of its time. "Tommy Boy's" trainer, Uncle Ben is black. He is as far removed from Stepin Fetchit as a teacher is from an illiterate. Indeed, Uncle Ben is central to the plot... and in as loving a manner as could be imagined. This alone sets out SPORTING BLOOD as a better film by far than many others of its day.

Finally, the camera technology was fairly crude in 1931. Film speeds were slow and the cameras sometimes weighed five hundred pounds. Remember this when you watch the racing scenes. The photography is impressive.


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