The lives of a disparate group of contestants intertwine in an inhumanely grueling dance marathon.The lives of a disparate group of contestants intertwine in an inhumanely grueling dance marathon.The lives of a disparate group of contestants intertwine in an inhumanely grueling dance marathon.
Director Sidney Pollack keeps the pace brisk by inter-cutting scenes between his large cast then amps things up further with dizzying elimination races. Hard luck hoofers Michael Sarrizin, Sussanah York, Red Buttons, Bruce Dern and Bonnie Bedelia all contribute powerful performances while Jane Fonda with hard edged cynicism delivers arguably the best acting job of her career. It is Gig Young as the emcee however that steals the film. A light comedy actor in most films Young's jaded good looks and forced optimism ("Yowsa, yowsa") to rouse the audience into thinking the torture on the floor is wholesome entertainment is an incredible portrait of calibrated hypocrisy and exploitation.
Horses oozes cynicism from start to finish with no let up. There is not an ounce of comedy relief and the few scenes that take place outside the dark stifling dance hall in the welcome sun serves only the despair back inside where a sentimental audience tosses coins to a pregnant Bonnie Bedelia warbling "The best things in life are free." Without any upbeat distractions the film can become an endurance of melancholy for the viewer but Pollack and company keep things highly absorbing most of the way in what might be termed a dark piece of historical nostalgia .
- Nov 22, 2009