Riding High (1950 film)
|Directed by||Frank Capra|
|Produced by||Frank Capra|
|Written by||Mark Hellinger (story)
Melville Shavelson (add. dialogue)
Jack Rose (add. dialogue)
|Edited by||William Hornbeck|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||112 min.|
|Box office||$2,350,000 (US rentals)|
Riding High (1950) is a black and white musical racetrack film featuring Bing Crosby and directed by Frank Capra in which the songs were actually sung as the movie was being filmed instead of the customary lip-synching to previous recordings. The movie is a remake of an earlier Capra film called Broadway Bill (1934). While the film is generally a light musical comedy, it has an unexpected tragic turn in its story.
Yale grad Dan Brooks is expected to marry wealthy boss J.L. Higgins' daughter Margaret and join the family box-making business. He is far more interested in racing a horse he owns, Broadway Bill.
Doing poorly at work, Dan and his groom Whitey leave town to enter Bill in the Imperial Derby, but first must find money for the entry fee. He and old pal Professor Pettigrew each try to con the other out of a few bucks, then end up singing the Yale school song to get out of a restaurant tab they can't pay.
Maggie's younger sister Alice is secretly in love with Dan, so she offers him some money, pawning her belongings. Whitey is beaten up trying to win some in a craps game, and Broadway Bill is carted away because Dan doesn't pay his feed bill. Dan is jailed, too.
A rich man makes a bet on 100-to-1 shot Bill, leading to false rumors that the horse is a shoo-in. The odds drop fast, but gamblers and a crooked jockey try to make sure their own favorites win the race. Broadway Bill somehow manages to win, but collapses at the finish line and must be put to sleep.
A saddened Dan takes comfort in deciding to buy and race Broadway Bill II. His enthusiasm persuades Alice and even her dad to lend Dan a hand.
- Bing Crosby as Dan Brooks
- Coleen Gray as Alice Higgins
- Charles Bickford as J.L. Higgins
- Frances Gifford as Margaret Higgins
- William Demarest as Happy
- Raymond Walburn as Professor Pettigrew
- James Gleason as Racing Secretary
- Ward Bond as Lee
- Clarence Muse as Whitey
- Percy Kilbride as Pop Jones
- Harry Davenport as Johnson (in his last film)
Oliver Hardy had an unbilled cameo appearance as a gambler at the racetrack.
Some of the scenes in both Broadway Bill and Riding High were filmed at the Tanforan racetrack in San Bruno, California. The track burned to the ground in July 1964, just before it was to be demolished.
- 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1950', Variety, January 3, 1951
- American Movie Classics
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