RIDING HIGH is Frank Capra’s remake of his own 1934 film Broadway Bill (AKA Strictly Confidential), in which romance and comedy play out against the backdrop of thoroughbred horse racing. Real-life racing enthusiast Bing Crosby takes over Warner Baxter’s starring role from the earlier film (Baxter was admittedly skittish about horses) and lends greater emotional resonance—as well as a few musical sequences—to the lighthearted story of a wealthy businessman who abandons his privileged lifestyle in favor of racing horses. While Coleen Gray replaces Myrna Loy as co-star, most of the original cast members reprise their supporting roles—including Clarence Muse, Raymond Walburn, Margaret Hamilton, and Douglass Dumbrille—and Oliver Hardy appears without Stan Laurel in a memorable cameo. —filmaffinity.com
The most honored and well-liked director of his generation, Sicilian-born Frank Capra graduated from the California Institute of Technology as a Chemical Engineering major. Down on his luck after service during World War I, he bluffed his way into the movie business and learned films from the bottom up, from the film lab to the prop department to the editing department. He settled in as a gagman during the 1920s, and soon became a director specializing in comedy. After a stint with Mack Sennett, Capra moved to Columbia Pictures, where he came into his own as a filmmaker.
Displaying a good feel for drama as well as comedy, and a common touch with which ordinary viewers could resonate, Capra quickly became the star among the tiny studio’s stable of directors. His pictures, starting with American Madness in 1932, displayed themes that audiences regarded as important and uplifting during the worst days of the Great Depression, and Capra, despite the relatively modest budgets with… read more