Ann Dvorakis a fresh-off-farm and unkissed
daughter of horse trainer Harry Carey --- this in several years wake of precode
scorchers Three On A Match and Scarface? How soon they'd forgot, or maybe they
hadn't, thus Racing Lady's nowhere placement among Dvorak's oeuvre. Such
was RKO Coventry to which she was banished after causing grief at Warners. What a
shame, for I maintain AD would have made a better Bette Davis than Bette Davis.
Imagine her as First Lady for WB, dynamic like Davis
and sexy unlike Davis.
It could have been a great run. As things worked out (or didn't, by Dvorak's
measure), B's like Racing Lady would be her future and fate, along with good
character work in occasional A's. Nothing's wrong with Racing Lady, as how much
can go amiss in 59 minutes? The horse flesh is attractive --- folks liked
equine yarns then ---and what goes on in servant quarters engages, what with
Hattie McDaniel, Willie Best and others getting lots more to do than was
customary for domestics or sidekicks they'd generally play. I wonder if
Selznick, checking out Hattie's fine dramatic work here, was inspired to GWTW-cast
her as result. There's also good use of Berton Churchill as a benign racing
tout, this fine old trouper adept enough with comedy to make us regret his not
doing more of it. Lastly, there is oddity of Smith Ballew, initially a singer
off radio who went from Racing Lady to warbling in Sol Lesser westerns.