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Straight Place and Show (1938)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical | 30 September 1938 (USA)
The Ritz Brothers go to the race track. They raise training end entrance money in a wrestling match and help a young man train the horse of his fiancée.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
... The Ritz Brothers
... Denny Paine
... Linda Tyler
... Barbara 'Babs' Drake
... Mr. Drake
... 'Lucky' Braddock
... Truck Driver - Syd Robins
... Ivan Borokov - Russian Jockey
... Vladimir Borokov - Russian Jockey
... Boris Borokov - Russian Jockey
... Slippery Sol
Tiny Roebuck ... Terrible Turk
... Promoter
... Detective Globe (as Ed Gargan)
Pat McKee ... Referee


According to the scribes at a big movie studio with Fox in its logo, it is the big season at the track. While some of the boys are not doing so well it is rumored that the Ritz brothers are to make a big killing on a hay-burner named "Playboy,". Now it is also rumored that the nag is owned by Barbara Drake. It is further mused around that she has a rich father who goes by the moniker of Mr. Drake. However, he is otherwise known to all and sundry as 'The Grump' as he is always ready to share his disposition with any unlucky citizen that may wander by. Barbara is sweet on a guy named Denny who is an all-around good citizen, who also likes Barbara in return. Barbara is jealous of a torch singer named Linda. Denny does not care to run in competition with any hay-burner and makes it plain that he has no intentions to share his girl's ever-loving affection with "Playboy." Denny wagers Barbara that her horse will not win a race in three months. If he does Denny will build him a stable right ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Musical


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 September 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Damon Runyon's Straight Place and Show  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The play by Damon Runyon and Irving Caesar was based on an earlier short story, "That Ever Loving Wife of Mine", which appeared in Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan in 1931. The play was never produced. See more »


Home on the Range
Music by Daniel E. Kelley (1904)
Lyrics by Brewster M. Higley (1873)
Played in the score for the scenes introducing pony rides
See more »

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User Reviews

Puttin' on the Ritz
6 August 2017 | by See all my reviews

1938's "Straight Place and Show" was one of the later vehicles for Fox's talented Ritz Brothers, just before their greatest triumph "The Three Musketeers," which in turn was followed by their most accessible feature "The Gorilla." Their patter here isn't as bad as some insist, but the script clearly lets them down, unable to do much to enliven shopworn material. The straight story features lovely Phyllis Brooks obsessed with her race horse Playboy, to the jealous chagrin of fiancée Richard Arlen, who bets her that if he doesn't win a race for three months running she loses Playboy to him to do with as he pleases. As one would expect, Arlen wins the bet and decides to just give away Playboy to the Ritz Brothers, a trio of pony ride barkers who figure that Playboy makes a better jumper for a major steeplechase. Phyllis manages to find the boys and become a partner in the venture, but they need $1000 for the entry fee, so Harry Ritz has to pose as champion wrestler Running Deer to win a purse to get by, probably their best scene in the film. The climactic race carries no dramatic weight whatsoever, all the riding done by stunt doubles, the brothers impersonating three crooked Russian jockeys who had planned to sabotage Arlen's riding of Playboy as one last chance to prove his love for Phyllis. Ethel Merman, ending her brief Hollywood career, gets to sing two songs, Sidney Blackmer plays wealthy gambler Lucky Braddock, and Lon Chaney (seen in the earlier Ritz comedy "Life Begins in College") gets a decent bit as Lucky's chauffeur Martin (this early scene inspires the Ritzes to go from pony rides to the race track). A disappointment even for Ritz Brothers fans, but hardly the awful film that some make it out to be. "The Gorilla" later proved an unhappy experience, confined to one setting with no song and dance patter, and after one final picture at Fox, Sol Wurtzel's B unit production "Pack Up Your Troubles," a vehicle for pint sized Jane Withers, Harry Ritz famously quipped that their career had gone "from bad to Wurtzel!" Four subsequent features at Universal failed to improve their fortunes, so they left Hollywood for good in 1944, missing out on the mystery musical "Murder in the Blue Room," which at least would have suited their talents better than "The Gorilla."

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