30 September 2004 | sol-kay
A Man A Horse And A Dream
Extremely heart-warming depression era movie by director Frank Capra about a big-hearted race-horse who ran his heart out to the point that it burst leaving those who believed and loved him, in the audience as well as those in the movie, in tears: Broadway Bill.
Marrying into money Dan Brooks, Warren Baxter, just couldn't take being big business tycoon J.L Higgins' son-in-law anymore and left him as well as his wife Margaret, Helen Vinson, to go back to his life on the racetrack with his horse Broadway Bill and his horses groom Whitey, Clarence Muse. Dan got Broadway Bill into a number of low purse money races at the local Imperial Racetrack to get the horse, if he won them, into the big race at the track The Imperial Derby against Kentucky Derby favorite Gallant Lady.
With that wonderful Frank Capra spirit the movie is about the little man standing up to the powerful establishment and with both his hopes and dreams prevail against the establishments money and power in the end. Warren Baxter and Myrna Loy were both wonderful as Broadway Bill's owner trainer and Dan's sister-in-law Alice who, unlike her older sister Margaret, saw the good that Dan had inside of him. A goodness that was reflected on Dan's caring and feeling for the horse and for the people who, unlike Alice's father, had to live day by day with no hope for the future but for their next meal and a place with a roof over their heads to sleep overnight.
Everything was stacked against Broadway Bill in the movie but like the champ that he was he overcame all of them and ended the film with a heart-stopping as well as heart-breaking finish on the racetrack. Re-made 16 years later in 1950 with Bing Crosby in the movie "Riding High" which even has a number of scenes from the movie " Broadway Bill" inserted into it but the original is still by far the best of the two and the one to watch.
Noble and uplifting with Frank Capra using the betting at the racetrack to make a point about the conditions in the country at that time, 1934. With most of those betting on Broadway Bill being down on their luck and looking for the gallant and courageous equine to give them back the hopes and dreams that they lost because of the Great depression that hit America as well as the world after the stock market crashed on October 29, 1929. Tremendous final race sequence with a both heart-lifting as well as heart-breaking stretch run that will leave you totally speechless as well as reaching for your handkerchief.
Incredibly up-lifting ending that only Frank Capra could have dreamed up with Dan's hopes and dreams as well as Broadway Bill's courage and determination making even Dan's father-in-law the greedy and unfeeling J.L Higgins finally see the light in that being a kind and giving human being was worth more that all the wealth that he had."Broadway Bill" has everything going for it: a great story with great acting and directing and last but not least a great star Broadway Bill.