Saratoga, a story of the thoroughbreds and the men and women who follow the horses around the circuit, is a glamorous comedy-drama which the late Jean Harlow was completing, as co-star with Clark Gable. The few scenes remaining to be made at the time of her death were photographed with an alternate in her part, and done with such skill that audiences will not easily distinguish the substitution.
Anita Loos and Robert Hopkins, who collaborated on San Francisco, have gone behind the scenes at racetracks and breeding farms to tell a story of human interest. Gable plays a bookmaker in a breezy, horsey manner. Harlow is the daughter in a family which has bred and raced horses for generations. She takes her small inheritance and wagers on the horses. She is prompted to this in an effort to win enough to repurchase the family breeding farm from Gable, who holds the mortgage to cover losses incurred by her father.
Harlow’s performance is among her best. She has several rowdy comedy passages with Gable which are excellently done. The performances of Lionel Barrymore (as the grandfather), Una Merkel (an itinerant follower of the horses), and Frank Morgan (as a turf neophyte) are splendid.