4 June 2015 | MartinHafer
Horrible even for a very early talkie.
I have seen a ton of old films. So, I realize that a very large portion of the early talking pictures are poor films when you see them today. They're often too talky and stilted. However, even for one of these films, "The Thoroughbred" is a terrible film in many ways--so terrible, I wouldn't waste my time with it.
The film is a very formulaic race horse film. All throughout the movie, I could predict exactly what was going to happen because it was so familiar. However, I cannot fault it completely for this. After all, as an early film, it might represent an early form of the formula. But what I cannot get past is the slapdash way this is handled as well as the painfully racist elements in the movie.
The picture, if you bother seeing it, is about two friends. One (Todd) is a nice-guy jockey looking for work. The other is his black friend who is only there as comic relief. It's sad, as the film COULD have been interesting because of this relationship but it fails because nearly every horrible stereotype of the era is in the film--such as watermelon and fried chicken eating as well as the black folks in the film all seeming amazingly servile and stupid. It's also sad because Todd goes from being a nice guy to becoming a fat-headed jerk almost instantly. Had this slowly and realistically occurred, the film might have made more sense. At it is, he goes from treating his black friend fine to treating him like something he just scraped off his shoe! All in all, a terrible film made much worse due to horrible pacing, one-dimensional characters and poor writing.