14 October 2016 | MartinHafer
The first of the Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland flicks...and it's a good one.
The casting in this film is rather unusual. While Freddie Bartholomew was apparently supposed to be in the movie, he was either in a contract dispute or in seclusion until his voice changed (according to Judy Garland)...and the studio tried to find a Bartholomew-like actor to take his place. That is why Ronald Sinclair (a New Zealander) was chosen to appear in this film...one of only a small number of films in which he acted. Interestingly, Sinclair has quite a few Hollywood credits--most of them as an Editor!
"Thoroughbreds Don't Cry" is monumental because it is the first pairing of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. They'd go on to make many more films together...and this being the first might explain why Rooney does NOT play a typical sort of part for a Garland-Rooney film. Instead of the usual likable guy, he's a fat-head jockey--one that definitely needs to be taken down a peg or two. As for Garland, she 's a nice girl who likes to find excuses to sing...and so her role is very typical of their later films.
When the movie begins, Sir Peter Calverton is preparing to take his prize horse, the Pookah, to America for some big race. No, this IS a horse and it's NOT invisible...despite the name for the creature being the same as Harvey in the famous Jimmy Stewart film! His grandson, Roger (Sinclair) accompanies him and eventually makes friends with Timmie (Rooney) and Cricket (Garland). But alas, things do NOT go swimmingly--and I won't say more because I don't want to spoil the plot. Suffice to say that Timmie and Cricket need to work together to help poor Roger and his horse.
Overall, this is a very entertaining film--one that would probably appeal more to kids but still have appeal to all ages. It has all the typical MGM polish and the story well worth seeing. I particularly liked that there wasn't that much singing and no dancing...unlike many of the other Garland- Rooney films. I know some folks like the singing and dancing, but to me it often got in the way of the story...and that's why the story here is stronger than I expected.
By the way, there is a hospital scene where Timmie talks to the receptionist. This lady is none other than Marie Blake ('Blossom Rock' from "The Addams Family")....who also played the hospital receptionist in the Dr. Kildaire films (also from MGM).