GLORY (director: David Butler; screenwriters: story by Gene Markey/Peter Milne; cinematographer: Wilfred M. Cline; editor: Irene Morra; music: Frank Perkins/Clifford Vaughan; cast: Margaret O’Brien (Clarabel Tilbee), Walter Brennan (Ned Otis), Charlotte Greenwood (Miz Agnes Tilbee), John Lupton (Chad Chadburn), Byron Palmer (Hoppy Hollis), Lisa Davis (Candy Trent), Gus Schilling (Joe Page), Leonid Kinskey (Vasily), Walter Baldwin (Doc Brock), Sobbing Sam Cooney (Hugh Sanders); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: David Butler; RKO; 1956)
“Routine inspirational sports drama that’s a vehicle for Margaret O’Brien to play her first grown-up role.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Routine inspirational sports drama that’s a vehicle for Margaret O’Brien to play her first grown-up role. She’s Clarabel Tilbee, the teenager Kentucky bred owner of the thoroughbred chestnut racing filly Glory. It’s the kind of cornball treat where Miss Honey, the nickname given to Clarabel by her suitor, is more in love with her horse than the handsome millionaire racing owner, Chad Chadburn (John Lupton), pursuing her. Studio filmmaker David Butler (“April in Paris”/”Calamity Jane”/”Tea for Two”) is the producer and director.
Clarabel lives in a trailer with her crusty, obstinate, know-it-all widowed granny, Agnes Tilbee (Charlotte Greenwood). Forced to sell her Fairwood Farms horse breeding operation, the avid Brooklyn Dodgers fan now operates out of a traveling trailer. Agnes’ newest foal is a filly, named Glory by Clarabel. The pessimistic granny believes a filly can’t beat a colt, and is therefore disappointed. But Clarabel becomes devoted to the filly, and even though unsuccessful at the track will enter the three-year-old in the Kentucky Derby.
Agnes has a feuding relationship with former trainer Ned Otis (Walter Brennan), as they argue over a past mistake of who was to blame for not entering their horse in the Kentucky Derby.
Meanwhile the new owner of Agnes’ ranch, Chad, prefers talking horses with Clarabel than staying with his pretty socialite girlfriend Candy (Lisa Davis), who is anything but sweet.
What follows are a few contrivances of Clarabel losing and then getting back her horse, of touring famous nightclub singer Hoppy Hollis (Byron Palmer) offering Clarabel a singing contract and of granny Tilbee finally making peace with Ned as he trains Glory to win the Derby.
It’s about as tasty as eating hay, but at least it won’t choke you to death. But there’s a winning cameo of racing icons Eddie Arcaro and Willie Shoemaker, two of my all-time favorite jockeys.
REVIEWED ON 5/5/2009 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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