"They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"

If you want to see a movie that depicts modern life well, check this out.

If you’ve seen it, what did you think?

Reported for forum change.

I haven’t seen this movie in a few decades, but I remember enjoying it.

I’m not sure it’s a movie you “enjoy,” but it is very good.

Excellent film.

Modern life?? a 1969 depiction of a 1935 novel? Good movie but does NOT depict modern life.

“Humans are the ultimate spectacle”… Human emotions don’t change after a decade.

Name a more accurate movie.

Then say that it’s a timeless depiction of the human condition or something. Don’t use the word “modern” unless it actually applies.

Moderator Action

Moving thread from IMHO to CS.

I saw it not long after I read “The Hunger Games”, and saw a lot of similarities, except that the marathon dancers weren’t necessarily keeping it up until the last one died.

I’ve seen it many times, ranging from the late movie on TV to my own copies on VHS, and later, DVD. I’ve also read the book a few times.

I like it. I’m unsure if it depicts modern life well, but IMHO, it does depict life in general, at any time. We struggle to do better than we are right now–Robert and Gloria want to win the $1500, just as we all want promotions and raises at work. Like Robert and Gloria, we can only do so by getting past people we have grown to know and like. It is not an easy balance, and the conflicts of the characters are nicely shown in the movie.

I do appreciate the subplots for their additions of drama …

Alice’s stolen dress and Ruby’s pregnancy and the death of Sailor… but ultimately, we indeed do learn that when a horse can no longer go on, we need to do the kind thing.

A fascinating movie. Oh, and the tagline was, “People are the ultimate spectacle,” not “Humans,” as stated above.

Excellent film, very serious; a classic if not a masterpiece. It’s about the dance marathoners of the Depression era, and the desperate straits they (or some of them anyway) went through to make a few bucks to win a marathon. Those dance contests were a big deal back in the day, although I believe they were a mostly west coast phenomenon, though maybe not limited to Cali, viewed as emblematic of the coast and more broadly of Hollywood and the movies.

I believe that the movie (I haven’t read the novel it’s based on) captures the spirit of the time it depicts; and also, there was, from what I’ve read lots of truth in what it depicts: people dropping dead, going mad, maybe some murders and suicides. The film manages to feel somehow like a very Sixties critique of American materialism at or near its lowest (though it ain’t about Harlan County, Kentucky); and the flashy subject matter is more cinematic and exciting than Okies and coal miners. Excellent acting all-round from a gifted cast. It manages to be dramatically engaging and at times downright thrilling and at the same time grim and apocalyptic feeling.

English author Somerset Maugham referenced dance contests in Europe. I don’t remember that they were specifically marathons, as in the movie, but it was suggest that it was a hard way to make a living.

Great movie. Nothing to do with modern life.

Some people have drawn parallels between dance marathons and “reality” TV shows like “Keeping up with X” or “Real Housewives of X”.

People who are not particularly rich or famous, publicly exhausting themselves and humiliating themselves, in the hopes of winning a big prize.

Sounds more like Survivor.

There’s just something about Michael Sarrazin that I just don’t like. OTOH, Susannah York! (Her only Oscar nomination.)

Gig Young really earned that Oscar.

Al Lewis and the recently passed Allyn Ann McLerie also appear.

Depressing as hell.

Michael Sarrazin didn’t have much personality… Pretty wooden. I think Jane Fonda was TOO snappy, but the movie works.

It’s about exploitation, materialist fetishism, how sex and power is combined, how the “system” is an illusion, and that people are pulling the strings, and all it takes is one who is corrupt to screw it all up. You have the middle-classes in the stands cheering these half-dead people, some who are only there to be exploited for a bowl of rice once a day. And about the dress – anything to “keep the show going, even if we have to kill the sailor and everyone else”.

It’s very symbolic, full of allegories, and each time you see it, you’l catch more… Notice how they constantly have to go in circles - for no reason. You can’t even tel who is winning, because there is no winner. Even the true winners are the ultimate losers. Notice how they wanted them to sponsor products… Telling them they have to get married, making a farce out of love. “We’re all interested in the show”… Even a 5 second exchange when Michael looks at the sun, the natural beauties of life, and is demeaned by the judge. Even love was a commodity, and the temptations are capitalized upon… The story Gig tells about his father - again, more of the illusion, manipulation for money. Notice how the exploited don’t go after those who exploit them, but instead each other (working-class)…

I know many haven’t seen this in ages, but it is on YouTube in full.

It’s one hell of a Christmas movie.

it’s great on any day

I’ve said this before but if they had Prozac in 1969, theaters showing this movie could’ve made a fortune selling at their concession stands with the popcorn and Jujubes.