Three Men on a Horse Film Details
Overview: A meek salesman with an uncanny ability to pick horses is virtually kidnapped by a trio of gamblers.
Tagline: Oh, OIWIN! – We’re a sensation on the screen!
Review: It’s not often when a seemingly action-less stage play ends up working on stage nearly as well, hence the number of recent plays that either never get filmed, or if they do, don’t do very well and end up overlooked at award time. For George Abbott, though, his plays are continuously revived even though they are obviously of a different time. He was a fantastic playwright, producer and director, carrying out every detail in character, dialog, sets and story, and as a result, a good majority of his plays which were filmed did very well. While a revival of this play might do fine for a limited run from a non-profit organization on Broadway, it is definitely a product of its time. (An off Broadway company that dedicates itself to obscure titles did revive it a decade ago, however.) The film version of this play is the only chance to see popular character actor Frank McHugh in a leading role. He is a henpecked husband, virtually ignored by his dizzy wife Carol Hughes on matters of fiances, and verbally abused by his nasty father-in-law (Paul Harvey), who treats him like something you’d scrape off of your shoe. Tired of dealing with his home life, he escapes to the world of track betting, and on a hunch, gives gamblers Allen Jenkins, Sam Levene and Teddy Hart the name of a horse to bet on. The horse wins, and they decide to keep him around for good luck, calling McHugh’s boss (Guy Kibbee) and intentionally not telling McHugh that Kibbee has basically fired him for not showing up for work. Then, there’s the presence of the gum smacking, tough talking Joan Blondell, who becomes a temptation for McHugh even though she’s obviously involved with Levene. Plays about milquetoast, nagged husbands and the every day man who can’t seem to get a break can be relatable to men today, and in many senses, it hasn’t dated in that aspect. The dialog is rip-roaring and tough talking as if it had come out of the mouths of characters from “Guys and Dolls” (of which Sam Levene was an original Broadway cast member), and the cast delivers it with gusto. Blondell, while top billed, is basically secondary to McHugh, but she makes every scene that she’s in crackle. Those who only know her from her cameo as the tired waitress in “Grease” will be surprised to see her as a buxom leading lady. Hughes is delightfully funny with her dumbbell Gracie Allen like wife, although unlike Gracie, nothing she says is smart, even under the surface. Edgar Kennedy is hysterical as the slow burning bartender. The direction by Mervyn LeRoy is superb, even with just a few set pieces padding out the film. This is the type of film to revisit because there is so much to capture that it could never all be caught in just one viewing.
Duration: 86 min
Also known as: Drie gokkers,Three Men on a Horse,Três Homens e um Cavalo,3 Men on a Horse