They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (Sydney Pollack, 1969)

"You dancin'?" "You askin'?"
What's it about? A series of hopefuls enter a contest where they endure hardships and humiliation, to the delight of the audience, making for a depressing commentary on what people will do and watch in the name of entertainment. But that's enough about The X Factor. Wacca wacca!!! Thank you, thank you, I'm here all week, try the veal!!!
Anyway, this film follows down-on-their-luck couples attempting to win their fortune in a dance marathon competition.

Is it any good? The film itself is downbeat, bleak stuff, but it is very well acted, particularly by Jane Fonda and Gig Young (who nabbed a Best Supporting Actor Oscar). It keeps the interest throughout, but, aptly enough for a film set in the Depression era, it is very depressing.

I don’t trust you. What do others think? Lots of awards, nominations and box-office success back in the day. Nowadays, it's an interesting reminder that the sort of exploitation/desperation we see in reality TV shows is nothing new.

Anything else I should know? Read a brief history of the dance marathon craze in the 20s and 30s
here. For an excellent movie resource check out They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? (guess what film inspired the name?). It's almost as good as my blog.

What does the Fonz think? UnHappy Days. Still worth a thumb up

Buy it on Amazon

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