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They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Horace McCoy's 1935 grimy novel of a depression era dance marathon, which sold a forgettable 3,000 copies as a book, is a film with Jane Fonda as a hard-as-nails babe. It becomes, in a recreated old ballroom, a sordid spectacle of hard times, a kind of existentialist allegory of life.

With:
Jane Fonda Michael Sarrazin Susannah York Gig Young Red Buttons Bonnie Bedelia

Horace McCoy’s 1935 grimy novel of a depression era dance marathon, which sold a forgettable 3,000 copies as a book, is a film with Jane Fonda as a hard-as-nails babe. It becomes, in a recreated old ballroom, a sordid spectacle of hard times, a kind of existentialist allegory of life.

Gig Young is the promoter-emcee, the barker for a cheap sideshow attraction with an endless patter of cliches on pluck, luck, courage, true grit, and the American Way. Puffy-eyed, unshaven, reeking of stale liquor, sweat and cigarets, Young has never looked older or acted better.

Fonda, as the unremittingly cynical loser, the tough and bruised babe of the Dust Bowl, gives a dramatic performance that gives the film a personal focus and an emotionally gripping power.

Pollack turns the marathon into a vulgar, sleazy, black microcosm of life in 1932.

1969: Best Supp. Actor (Gig Young).

Nominations: Best Actress (Jane Fonda), Supp. Actress (Susannah York), Screenplay Adaptation, Costume Design, Art Direction, Editing, Adapted Music Score

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Production: Palomar/ABC. Director Sydney Pollack; Producer Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff; Screenplay James Poe, Robert E. Thompson; Camera Philip H. Lathrop; Editor Fredric Steinkamp; Music John Green; Art Director Harry Horner

Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1969. Running time: 129 MIN.

With: Jane Fonda Michael Sarrazin Susannah York Gig Young Red Buttons Bonnie Bedelia

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