They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Movie Review

I didn't get what all the fuss was over. Dance marathons? A couple of hours of the charleston and eventually everyone quits, right?

Wrong. They Shoot Horses, Don't They? is set in the real dance marathon world of the Great Depression, when people were willing to do anything for a buck. Even if that means staying on your feet for 1,200 hours or more, with a few rest periods along the way. That's nearly two months. Dancing.

Against this backdrop is a story of desperation, fatalism, and greed as dozens of "kids" are put through the ringer of the marathon in the hopes of winning $1,500. Center stage is Jane Fonda, whose hammy performance nonetheless earned an Oscar nomination, the weakest and most nihilistic character in the movie. A fascinating film, it has an appropriately bleak ending and is full of choice moments. Any fan of dark, dark comedy will need to seek this film out (and it's kind of hard to find), as its influence is still palpable 30 years later.


They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: PG, 1969


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