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‘Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry’ From 1937: A Boy and His Horse

Commentary
The concept of a story about a child and a horse is a time-honored one. The bond between any young person and a beloved pet, such as a dog in the “Lassie” movies or any number of wild animals in 1960s live action Disney movies, is a touching premise for a film. Add to that man’s long affinity for his trusted horse, and you have a recipe for success. Long before “Black Beauty” (1994) and “War Horse” (2011), there was “Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry” (1937).
This MGM film stars Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, and Ronald Sinclair. The three youngsters are supported by popular MGM character actors C. Aubrey Smith, Forrester Harvey, Charles D. Brown, Henry Kolker, and Helen Troy. Judy’s aunt is played by 1910s-20s singing star and comedienne Sophie Tucker, “The Last of the Red-Hot Mamas,” in one of her few feature film appearances. The movie’s premise is similar to that of a later, much more famous Mickey Rooney film, “National Velvet” (1944). In both movies, Rooney plays a bitter jockey who helps a younger friend train a horse….

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