9 December 2010 | bkoganbing
Mickey, Judy, and The Pooka
The first film to feature Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland came up short in the music department as there was only one song written for the film Got A Brand New Pair Of Shoes and it was Judy's. I've a feeling that a lot might have been left on the cutting room floor because Sophie Tucker was also in this film as Judy's grandmother and she sung not a note.
Thoroughbreds Don't Cry features Mickey as a jockey famous for his daring come from behind wins in the stretch and Judy the granddaughter of Sophie Tucker who runs a jockey's boardinghouse where Mickey resides. Into their lives comes C. Aubrey Smith and his young grandson Ronald Sinclair who are titled, but cash poor with only one asset, a prize winning stakes horse called The Pooka. Yes, I do believe it is named for that spirit who manifested himself as a six foot white rabbit in Harvey.
Mickey's the best there is at his profession, but he's fatally compromised because of a no-good gambler of a father in Charles D. Brown who pretends he's on death's door. That's to extort a pledge from Mickey to throw the race The Pooka is running in. Mickey does it and finds out he's been framed. He's put everybody in a jackpot because of this and there is one death that results from it.
Ronald Sinclair substitutes nicely for Freddie Bartholomew who this role was originally intended. But the chemistry with Mickey and Judy was readily apparent and MGM would team them several more times until Words And Music in 1948 which was Mickey's last film for MGM.
But I like more singing and dancing when I see Mickey and Judy and I think more was originally intended. Just the mere fact that Sophie Tucker was in the film leads me to believe she must have had a number that ended up on the cutting room floor. Perhaps one day we'll see a director's cut.
The racing sequences at Santa Anita were handled well, the track was only a few years old at the time and the movie land crowd were frequent visitors and owners of race horses out there. I've seen newsreel footage of Mickey Rooney enjoying the sport of kings there when he was not on a shooting schedule.
Thoroughbreds Don't Cry is a good start for a most auspicious star team, but a whole lot better was to come.