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Film Review: Thoroughbreds Don't Cry


Thoroughbreds Don't Cry

MGM, 1937 (BW, 80 minutes, Production No. 1022)

Sir Peter Calverton and his grandson Roger travel to the United States with their horse in hopes of winning the American Cup. They persuade a local jockey (Timmy) to ride the horse. Timmy suggests that they enter the horse in a smaller race for practice. When Timmy throws the race to save his father's life, Sir Peter dies of a heart attack, leaving Roger stranded and insolvent. Now Roger has no choice but to sell the horse to raise money for the return trip home. But, Cricket has a better idea...


Produced by: Harry Rapf
Directed by: Alfred E. Green
Screenplay by: Lawrence Hazard, from an original story by Eleanore Griffin and J. Walter Ruben
Music and lyrics by: Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed
Photography: Leonard Smith
Editor: Elmo Vernon
Filmed: August 1937 - October 1937 (Judy was 15 years old)
Released: November 1937


Judy Garland ... Cricket West
Mickey Rooney ... Timmy Donovan
Sophie Tucker ... Mother Ralph
C. Aubrey Smith ... Sir Peter Calverton
Ronald Sinclair ... Roger Calverton
Forrester Harvey ... Wilkins
Charles D. Brown ... "Click" Donovan
Frankie Darro ... "Dink" Reid
Henry Kolker ... "Doc" Godfrey
Helen Troy ... Hilda

Musical Program

[0:14] Got a Pair of New Shoes  (excerpt, Judy Garland)
[0:34] Got a Pair of New Shoes  (Judy Garland)
[1:19] Got a Pair of New Shoes  (reprise, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney)
[cut] Sun Showers  [outtake] (Judy Garland)

see soundtrack anthology CD review


After the success of Judy's appearance in Broadway Melody of 1938, MGM was eager to get her on-screen again. She began work on Thoroughbreds and Everybody Sing simultaneously in August 1937, immediately following the premiere of Broadway Melody of 1938.

Thoroughbreds Don't Cry was the first teaming of Judy and Mickey. They would eventually appear in a total of 10 films together.

Freddie Bartholomew was originally intended to play Roger, but (as Judy put it) Freddie's voice was changing, so the part was given to Ronald Sinclair.

Judy was given two songs in the film, both of which had been cut from Broadway Melody of 1938. "Got a Pair of New Shoes" was an Eleanor Powell solo, and "Sun Showers" was a Charles Igor Gorin number. Though Judy pre-recorded both numbers, only one song made it into the final print.

Although Judy and Ronald had several puppy love scenes together, her scenes with Mickey drew sparks. It wasn't long before MGM put them together again in Love Finds Andy Hardy.

See Judy Garland Movies on Video for information about the latest releases of home video and sountrack.

Critical Response

"Short on logic but long on pep, it gallops gayly into the stretch...Mr. Rooney, as the jock, manages to streak with a brilliant performance which lends a certain quality to the whole picture. Robert Sinclair...handles the role of Roger with a sturdy "little manliness" which uncomfortably suggests Freddie Bartholomew, for whom the role was originally intended. Judy Garland is the puppy-love interest who tosses off some scorchy rhythm-singing...Mark this one on your card as all right."

- Bosley Crowther, The New York Times, November 26, 1937

"An appealing picture, especially for children. The story has to do with a racetrack. Mickey is a vain young jockey who has never lost a race and Ronald is the son of a titled Englishman who has brought his horse to America not only to recoup his waning fortunes but because of his genuine love and belief in Pukka, his horse.

The introduction of the two boys by Judy Garland, who is the niece of the keeper (Sophie Tucker) of the boarding house where Mickey and the other jockeys live is especially enlivening. All except Judy make fun of his English speech and gentlemanly manners...

Miss Garland does several imitations nicely ... Miss Tucker, in a rather small role, plays it with sympathy and not too much emphasis.

Mickey Rooney gives a really fine performance ... and Robert Sinclair is genuinely appealing."

- Marguerite Tazelaar, The New York Herald Tribune

Memorable Lines

Cricket: "I'm going to be a great singer. And I'm going to be a great actress, too!"

Cricket: "Let us just sit here for this one moment and be, uh ... efficient unto ourselves."

Timmy: (upon being told by Cricket to aplogize to Roger) "What're you trying to do - make a slob out of a guy?"

Cricket: "...and if I never got to know any other boys, I might - I might fall in love with you some day, and then what?"
Roger: "Well, then... well, uh... well, we'd have to get married, I suppose."
Cricket (stifling a giggle): "Oh, that'd be terrible, wouldn't it?"
Roger: "No, I don't think so. I'm sure that when I'm twenty-one I shall want to marry someone like you!"
Cricket: "But if you didn't..."
Roger: "Oh, but I'm sure I would!"
Cricket: "Yeah, but if you didn't - well that'd be terrible!"

Thoroughbreds Don't Cry VHS

Judy's songs included on soundtrack anthology
Buy soundtrack anthology

Ronald Sinclair, Judy Garland and Sophie Tucker

Cricket practicing her piano lessons

Cricket singing "Got a Pair of New Shoes"

Roger gifts Cricket with a book

Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and Ronald Sinclair

Judy Garland publicity still

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