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20 user 11 critic

Hard, Fast and Beautiful! (1951)

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

Director:

Ida Lupino

Writers:

Martha Wilkerson (screenplay), John R. Tunis (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Claire Trevor ... Millie Farley
Sally Forrest ... Florence Farley
Carleton G. Young ... Fletcher Locke
Robert Clarke ... Gordon McKay
Kenneth Patterson Kenneth Patterson ... Will Farley
Marcella Cisney Marcella Cisney ... Miss Martin
Joseph Kearns ... J.R. Carpenter
William Hudson ... Interne
George Fisher George Fisher ... George Fisher - Announcer
Arthur Little Jr. Arthur Little Jr. ... Arthur Litte Jr. - Commentator at Forest Hills
Bert Whitley Bert Whitley ... Young official
Edwin Reimers Edwin Reimers ... Announcer
Don Kent Don Kent ... Umpire
William Irving William Irving ... Umpire
Barbara Brier 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 TENNIS RACKET! (original poster-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Sport

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 April 1952 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Mother of a Champion See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Filmakers See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Based on the 1930 novel "American Girl" by John R. Tunis, which is a fictionalized account of the life of Helen Wills, a top female tennis player of the 1920s and 1930s. She won 31 Grand Slam tournaments, including 19 singles titles, and 2 Gold Medals at the 1924 Olympics in Paris for singles and doubles. See more »

Goofs

Florence looks at her new necklace in the mirror while she is wearing it. The words I LOVE YOU CHAMP are seen in the mirror. They ought to have been backwards. 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 secondtakeSee 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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