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Playing the Ponies
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,Fast Company

Fast Company

In a change of pace from his usual Westerns and melodramas, John Sturges turned his hand to a comedy with music, Fast Company (1953), starring Polly Bergen and Howard Keel. Bergen plays a racing enthusiast who inherits a horse with the peculiar habit of prancing to music. Keel is the trainer who has designs on both the lady and the horse, and matters come to a head after racetrack artists attempt a scam involving the light-footed animal.

Although Sturges offered Bergen her best opportunity at MGM in Fast Company, the film marked the end of her brief career at the studio. Disillusioned with her lack of musical and dramatic opportunities in films, Bergen asked to be released from her contract and turned to television. There she gained prominence through her own musical-variety show and a sultry, Emmy-winning performance in The Helen Morgan Story (1957). She returned to movies in the 1960s, playing in both drama (Cape Fear, 1962) and comedy (Kisses for My President, 1964). But the film-musical career for which she seemed eminently qualified somehow never happened.

Director: John Sturges
Producer: Henry Berman
Screenplay: Don Mankiewicz, William Roberts, from story by Eustace Cockrell
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Leonid Vasian
Cinematography: Harold Lipstein
Editor: Joseph Dervin
Musical Direction/Supervision: Alberto Colombo
Principal Cast: Howard Keel (Rick Grayton), Polly Bergen (Carol Maldon), Marjorie Main (Ma Parkson), Nina Foch (Mercedes Bellway), Robert Burton (David Sandring), Iron Eyes Cody (Ben Iron Mountain)

by Roger Fristoe



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