Thoroughbreds Don't Cry

Thoroughbreds Don't Cry

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alfred E. Green
Produced by Harry Rapf
Written by Eleanore Griffin (story)
J. Walter Ruben (story)
Lawrence Hazard
Dalton Trumbo (uncredited)
Harold Gould (uncredited)
Starring Ronald Sinclair
Judy Garland
Mickey Rooney
C. Aubrey Smith
Sophie Tucker
Cinematography Leonard Smith
Edited by Elmo Veron
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
December 3, 1937 (1937-12-03)
Running time
80 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $503,000[1]
Box office $731,000[1]

Thoroughbreds Don't Cry is a 1937 musical comedy film directed by Alfred E. Green, and starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in their first film together.


Cricket West (Garland) is a hopeful actress with a pair of vocal cords that bring down the house. Along with her eccentric aunt, she plays host to the local jockeys, whose leader is the cocky but highly skilled Timmie Donovan (Rooney). When a young English gentleman, Roger Calverton, comes to town convincing Donovan to ride his horse in a high-stakes race, the plot breaks into a speeding gallop. Donovan is disqualified from racing after being set up by his scheming father, with help from Cricket and her aunt, Roger wins the race and Donovan's father is arrested.


Following the sensational audience reaction to Judy Garland singing "You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)" to a picture of Clark Gable in Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937), Garland was rushed into shooting two films back to back, this and the more musically elaborate Everybody Sing, which was held for later release in 1938.[2]

This was the first film to team Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown wrote two songs for Garland, but only one, "Got A Pair of New Shoes", made it into the final film.[2] "Sun Showers" was also recorded by Garland, which still survives today.[3]

Thoroughbreds Don't Cry features Rooney as a jockey famous for his daring come-from-behind wins in the stretch and Garland as the niece of Sophie Tucker, who runs a jockey's boardinghouse where Rooney resides. Into their lives comes C. Aubrey Smith and his young grandson (Ronald Sinclair) who are titled but cash poor with only one asset, a prize-winning stakes horse called The Pookah.

Donovan's the best there is at his profession, but he is fatally compromised because his no-good gambler of a father, Charles D. Brown, pretending he is at death's door, extorts a pledge from Donovan to throw the race The Pookah is running in, in order to obtain cash for a cure. Donovan does it but then finds out he's been framed.

Sinclair substitutes for Freddie Bartholomew, for whom this role was originally intended but whose voice had changed, according to accounts later told by Judy Garland. The chemistry between Mickey and Judy was readily apparent in this film and MGM would team them several more times until Words and Music in 1948, which was Mickey's last film for MGM. The film features a cameo appearance from Frankie Darro as Dink Reed.


Box office

According to MGM records the film earned $426,000 in the US and Canada and $305,000 elsewhere resulting in a loss of $29,000.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. 1 2 Hirschhorn, Clive (1991) [1981]. The Hollywood Musical (2nd ed.). New York: Portland House. p. 139. ISBN 0-517-06035-3.
  3. "Sun Showers" (outtake from film) on YouTube
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