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Three Men on a Horse (1936)

Approved | | Comedy | 21 November 1936 (USA)
A meek salesman with an uncanny ability to pick horses is virtually kidnapped by a trio of gamblers.


Mervyn LeRoy (uncredited)


Laird Doyle (screen play), John Cecil Holm (from the play by) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Frank McHugh ... Erwin Trowbridge
Joan Blondell ... Mabel
Guy Kibbee ... Carver
Carol Hughes ... Audrey Trowbridge
Allen Jenkins ... Charlie
Sam Levene ... Patsy
Teddy Hart Teddy Hart ... Frankie
Edgar Kennedy ... Harry
Paul Harvey ... Clarence Dobbins
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson ... Moses (as Eddie Anderson)
Virginia Sale ... Chambermaid
Harry Davenport ... Williams
Ottola Nesmith ... Head Nurse (as Tola Nesmith)
Eily Malyon ... Miss Burns


Erwin Trowbridge is a meek salesman blessed with the ability to predict winners in horse races. Even though he only dopes them out on paper and never actually bets, his wife is suspicious of his interest in horses and he's continuously bullied and browbeaten by his overbearing brother-in-law. Seeking solace in a few drinks in a local saloon, a trio of degenerate Runyonesque gamblers discover his talent and keep him a virtual prisoner in a room above the bar where they pressure him to continue to feed them his picks. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Oh, OIWIN! - We're a sensation on the screen! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

21 November 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

3 Men on a Horse See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original play opened on Broadway in New York City at the Playhouse Theater on 30 January 1935 and closed on 9 January 1937 after 835 performances. Teddy Hart and Sam Levene originated their movie roles in the play, and the cast also included Shirley Booth as Mabel, and Millard Mitchell as Charlie. The popular play had Broadway revivals in 1942, 1970 and 1993. See more »


After Erwin's verses were recovered from the torn up and crumpled scraps of paper, the sheets they were written on appeared undamaged. See more »


Mabel: You want to see it? You want to see it?
Erwin Trowbridge: Well, eh, yes.
Mabel: Say, I'd do anything for you. Cause I'm just *crazy* about poetry! That's why. I got to get limbered up, though. Now, here we go.
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Version of Three Men on a Horse (1969) See more »


Music by Richard A. Whiting
Played during the opening credits and at the end
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User Reviews

Actor Frank McHugh's blatant innocence and comedic timing are so genuine
25 March 2018 | by Ed-ShullivanSee all my reviews

Considering this sketch type comedy was released 82 years ago (almost a century ago) it still holds up very well for the millenium babies who should get a kick out of the fast paced and simple story line that even they can keep up with. I know what I speak of as we have three (3) millenials of our own who are more focused on their cell phones text, streaming instantly the latest on the huge facebook privacy breach that contains almost all of their personal information, and marching to the "no guns, no more" campaign.

This simple story has a hard working jingle writer by trade named Erwin Trowbridge (Frank McHugh) capable of picking the winner of each horse race as long as he only plays for fun and does not gamble with any of his own money. Three hard core race track gamblers soon realize that in Erwin Trowbridge they hold the "golden goose" and after each race won by Erwin Trowbridge picking the winner their greed becomes ever more prevalent but we the audience don't know when Erwin Trowbridge's luck may just run out.

Through one of the gansters' acquaintances named Patsy (Sam Levene) Erwin meets a cute blonde moll named Mabel (Joan Blondell) who sees the need to protect Erwin from her violent boyfriend Patsy who is hell bent on threatening his golden goose Erwin if he fails to deliver yet another winning horse as these three comedic and compulsive gambling goons keep doubling up on their bets and continue their win streak.

We the audience can sit back and enjoy this comedic cat and mouse game that continues between the innocence of Erwin and his three hostage holders who refuse to let their golden goose go home, and/or back to what Erwin does best which is writing jingles for a greeting card company. Erwin repeatedly says he justs wants to go home to his loving wife Audrey (Carol Hughes) who rewards Erwin's love by ordering an endless string of dresses and hats, although his pesky brother-in-law Clarence Dobbins (Paul Harvey) is always over at his house defending his little sister and calling Erwin derogatory names.

Erwin's innocence shines through all the troubles he is subjected to and we the fans want to see what poor Erwin will be subjected to next in this laugh fest door opening/door slamming slap fest comedy. If the internet ever goes down for a couple of hours Three Men On A Horse would be an enjoyable way for even millenials to spend a Sunday morning or afternoon. I give this fast paced comedy a good 6 out of 10 rating which is pretty good for a black and white comedy released some 82 years earlier.

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