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Three Men on a Horse

(1936 b 87')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Based on a play by John Cecil Holm and George Abbott, three gamblers find a greeting-card poet who can pick winning horses.

Audrey Trowbridge (Carol Hughes) finds her husband's little book and tells her brother Clarence Dobbins (Paul Harvey) they are girls; but Erwin Trowbridge (Frank McHugh) explains they are horses he picks. Erwin dislikes Clarence's housing tract and is reluctant to pay for Audrey's dresses. At a bar Erwin drinks and tells gamblers Charlie (Allen Jenkins) and Frankie (Teddy Hart) what horses to bet. Patsy (Sam Levene) sees the winners in Erwin's book, and they bet. Mabel (Joan Blondell) says she pawned her clothes. Patsy orders Frankie to bet all on Erwin's picks, and bartender Harry (Edgar Kennedy) bets too. Patsy stops Erwin from going to work and offers him ten percent on all winners. Charlie calls Erwin's boss J. G. Carver (Guy Kibbee) that Erwin is sick. Frankie brings back $1200, and Erwin writes a Mother's Day poem. They take Erwin to Patsy's room.

Clarence tells Audrey how bad Erwin is, and she reports him missing. Charlie, Frankie, and Patsy take care of Erwin in bed. Erwin wrote 67 greeting verses and asks Frankie to take them to Carver. Patsy calls Carver to get Erwin a raise; but Carver fires him. Patsy sends Frankie to sell Erwin's verses to someone else, but Erwin demands them back. Mabel says they must find them, and Erwin faints. Mabel tells Erwin that she likes him and dances for him. Jealous Patsy finds her laying on Erwin's lap and orders her to her room. Patsy tears up the verses and tells Erwin to get out; but Charlie and Frankie object and say that Mabel was crying. Patsy calls Mabel and says he loves her. Erwin wants to go to Carver; but Patsy objects and gives him his $112 share. Charlie, Frankie, and Patsy copy verses while Erwin picks horses; but Erwin says he can only do it on his bus. So he goes with Mabel and Frankie.

Carver asks Audrey for Erwin's verses, and they go to the attic. Erwin, Mabel, and Frankie come in, and Erwin calls Patsy with some picks. Audrey comes down and cries. Clarence finds Frankie's discarded picks and bets on them. Patsy and the others celebrate Erwin's first two winners. Carver arrives demanding Erwin. The third winner is called in. Erwin complains that Charlie finished one of his poems badly. Patsy gives Erwin $300. Erwin wrote Equipoise but changed to Mr. Khayyam. Patsy makes Erwin bet all on Mr. Khayyam to win. They go to the race. Frankie bets all, and Equipoise barely wins. Patsy punches Erwin; but Equipoise is disqualified, and Mr. Khayyam won. Erwin socks Patsy and then Clarence. Carver gives Erwin a raise. Erwin says he can't pick horses anymore since he bet, and he writes a Father's Day poem.

This hilarious comedy is based on a fantasy premise that is a gambler's dream come true. The irony is that Erwin only wants to keep his job and won't bet, while the greedy gamblers want to make money without working.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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