14 September 2014 | blanche-2
B movie from RKO
Ann Dvorak and Harry Carey wound up in this B movie, Racing Lady, done by RKO and probably made in about three days.
Dvorak and Carey are daughter and father, Ruth and Tom Martin. Ruth has a horse that she believes has the makings of a winning racehorse. There aren't any female trainers in the racing field (in fact, I'm not sure there are many today). However, during the horse's first race, she is injured when pushed into the rail. The vet advises euthanasia, but Ruth has the horse's leg bandaged up, and retires her to the home she shares with her father.
The horse's filly turns out to be an excellent racehorse. Ruth can't afford the high fee for one of the big races, but puts the horse in a claiming race, which means all the horses are up for sale for about the same price until the actual race. Ruth's horse wins, but she learns it was claimed by one Steven Wendel (Smith Ballew), who owns many winning racehorses. He offers Ruth a job training, and she takes it, wanting to be near her horse.
Not much in the way of character development here as the film only runs one hour. Dvorak was better than this; she eventually became disgusted with her roles, married an Englishman, and made films there for a time. The actor playing Wendel, Smith Ballew, was the first singing cowboy and a popular radio star. He eventually retired and moved to Texas. The wonderful Harry Carey would go on to be nominated for an Oscar for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington not long after this.
Hattie McDaniel gives a spirited performance as a beloved employee, but the other two blacks in the film played cringe-worthy stereotypes, always difficult to see nowadays.
The horses were beautiful, and the racing footage was interesting.