Riding High

Riding High

Director: Frank Capra

Cast: Bing Crosby, Coleen Gray, Charles Bickford

     
 

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Anxious to remain active in the 1950s, director Frank Capra wanted to prove to Paramount Pictures that he could deliver an "A" picture on a modest budget. To that end, Capra bought the rights of his 1934 film Broadway Bill from Columbia, and remade it under the title Riding High. He then hired many of the supporting actors who'd appeared in Broadway

Overview

Anxious to remain active in the 1950s, director Frank Capra wanted to prove to Paramount Pictures that he could deliver an "A" picture on a modest budget. To that end, Capra bought the rights of his 1934 film Broadway Bill from Columbia, and remade it under the title Riding High. He then hired many of the supporting actors who'd appeared in Broadway Bill -- including Clarence Muse, Douglass Dumbrille, Ward Bond, Charles Lane and Frankie Darro -- so he could match up his newly shot scenes with stock footage from the earlier film. Capra even kept the musical costs down by having star Bing Crosby sing such public-domain favorites as "Camptown Races" (though there is one delightful original song, "We Ought to Bake a Sunshine Camera" performed without dubbing by Crosby, Muse, and leading-lady Colleen Gray). Crosby steps into the old Warner Baxter role as Dan Brooks, scion of a wealthy family who prefers hanging around racetracks to the responsibilities of his family business. Scheduled for a "proper" marriage to Margaret Higgins (Frances Gifford), the snooty daughter of millionaire J. L. Higgins (Charles Bickford), Dan infinitely prefers the company of Margaret's younger sister Alice (Coleen Gray), who loves horses as much as he. Hoping to declare his financial independence, he pins his future on a racehorse named Broadway Bill. Though not in the same league as Capra's earlier classics, Riding High is lots of fun. It is especially enjoyable for film buffs, thanks to Capra's decision to fill the picture with uncredited celebrity cameo appearances -- including Oliver Hardy, minus Stan Laurel, as an apoplectic horse player.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Riding High is a so-so semi-musical film that provides a modicum of entertainment, much of it coming from leading man Bing Crosby. Crosby is in fine form here, handed a character that he knows from the bottom up: a laidback guy who may come from wealth but isn't pretentious and who wants what he wants rather than what others want for him. The singer-actor could play this kind of role in his sleep, and sometimes it seems that he did; but here, he's tuned in on the right frequency, and his easygoing manner and comfortable way with a few tunes make High decent entertainment. His laidback manner also contrasts effectively with the zippy, rapidfire pacing that dominates a great deal of the film; indeed, sometimes things move a bit too fast. On occasion, the viewer would like the film to settle back for a while and to offer a few details; instead, we're given situations or characters which, because they aren't explored, come across as clichéd. Certainly the story is one that is overly familiar and that offers little in the way of surprises. High also features "Sunshine Cake," an abysmal Van Heusen-Cahn song that is exceptionally cloying and irritating; even Crosby can't make it a winner. Coleen Gray is only fair opposite Crosby, but the supporting cast is aces.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/06/2013
UPC:
0883316755129
Original Release:
1950
Rating:
NR
Source:
Paramount (Pmt)
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:51:00
Sales rank:
43,387

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bing Crosby Dan Brooks
Coleen Gray Alice Higgins
Charles Bickford J.L. Higgins
Frances Gifford Margaret Higgins
Raymond Walburn Prof. Pettigrew
William Demarest Happy McGuire
Clarence Muse Whitey
Margaret Hamilton Edna
Douglas Dumbrille Eddie Howard
Ward Bond Lee
Charles Lane Erickson
Frankie Darro Jockey Williams
Paul Harvey Whitehall
Marjorie Lord Mary Winslow
Marjorie Hoshelle Mary Early,Mary Winslow
Rand Brooks Henry Early
Willard Waterman Arthur Winslow
James Gleason Racing Secretary
Dub Taylor Joe
Ish Kabibble Actor
Stanley Andrews Veterinarian
Irving Bacon Hamburger man
Max Baer Bertie
M.A. Bogue Musician
Candy Candido Musician
Harry Davenport Johnson, butler
Roger Davis Butler
Edgar Dearing Deputy
Ann Doran Nurse
Tom Fadden Whitehall's trainor
Margaret Field Maid
Byron Foulger Maitre d'
Joe Frisco Himself
Oliver Hardy Horse player
Percy Helton Pawnbroker
Percy Kilbride Pop Jones
Richard Kipling Jailer
Gene Lockhart J.P. Chase
Jim Nolan Deputy
Garry Owen Harry
Victor Romito Barber

Technical Credits
Frank Capra Director,Producer
George Barnes Cinematographer
Arthur S. Black Asst. Director
Hans Dreier Art Director
Farciot Edouart Special Effects
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Mark Hellinger Original Story
William W. Hornbeck Editor
Emile Kuri Set Decoration/Design
Ernest Laszlo Cinematographer
Robert Riskin Screenwriter
Jack Rose Screenwriter
Melville Shavelson Screenwriter
Walter Tyler Art Director
James VanHeusen Score Composer
Wally Westmore Makeup
Victor Young Musical Direction/Supervision

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