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Riding High

Screening on Film
Directed by Frank Capra.
With Bing Crosby, Coleen Gray, Charles Bickford.
US, 1950, 35mm, black & white, 112 min.

Only weeks after I had finished It Happened One Night in early 1933 (and months before it copped the five major Oscars in the Academy sweepstakes), I had made an entertaining film out of Mark Hellinger’s short story about a man, a maid, and a Cinderella racehorse named ‘Broadway Bill.’ The man was Warner Baxter, the maid Myrna Loy, and Broadway Bill was a tame, tired plug because Warner Baxter was deathly afraid of horses—especially of those with their tails up. As a result, many warm scenes I had in mind between the man and his horse I could not do, and those I did photograph were disappointing because Baxter was terrified of being bitten or kicked. I vowed that some day I would do Broadway Bill over again with a man who loved horses.

Well, a man who loved and owned horses (they never won), and who was one of our biggest stars, had a dressing room right around the corner from my Paramount office. Der Bingle! Bing Crosby, a horse, and a maid—a natural! [...]

The relaxed, easy-going behavior on our sets was partly due to the fact that Riding High was my first picture in years that did not deal with a social issue. But mostly it was due to Crosby’s gaiety and whole-hearted cooperation. — FC

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