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Hard, Fast and Beautiful! (1951)

Passed | | Drama, Romance, Sport | 21 April 1952 (Sweden)
Tennis prodigy Florence Farley is torn between romance and her mother's ambitions.

Director:

Ida Lupino

Writers:

Martha Wilkerson (screenplay), John R. Tunis (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Claire Trevor ... Millie Farley
Sally Forrest ... Florence Farley
Carleton G. Young ... Fletcher Locke
Robert Clarke ... Gordon McKay
Kenneth Patterson Kenneth Patterson ... Will Farley
Marcella Cisney Marcella Cisney ... Miss Martin
Joseph Kearns ... J.R. Carpenter
William Hudson ... Interne
George Fisher George Fisher ... George Fisher - Announcer
Arthur Little Jr. Arthur Little Jr. ... Arthur Litte Jr. - Commentator at Forest Hills
Bert Whitley Bert Whitley ... Young official
Edwin Reimers Edwin Reimers ... Announcer
Don Kent Don Kent ... Umpire
William Irving William Irving ... Umpire
Barbara Brier Barbara Brier ... Girl
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Storyline

Boy (Gordon) meets girl (Florence), sharing an interest in tennis. But Florence has a supremely ambitious mother who intends to push her ahead regardless (she barely knows her own husband exists). Florence's tennis career rapidly advances, thanks to mother's manipulation and a promotion-minded coach; building toward the inevitable conflict between the fulfilment of Mother's dreams...and daughter's. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE PRICE OF FAME IN THE BIG-TIME TENNIS RACKET! (original poster-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Sport

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 April 1952 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Mother of a Champion See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Filmakers See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the 1930 novel "American Girl" by John R. Tunis, which is a fictionalized account of the life of Helen Wills, a top female tennis player of the 1920s and 1930s. She won 31 Grand Slam tournaments, including 19 singles titles, and 2 Gold Medals at the 1924 Olympics in Paris for singles and doubles. See more »

Goofs

Florence looks at her new necklace in the mirror while she is wearing it. The words I LOVE YOU CHAMP are seen in the mirror. They ought to have been backwards. See more »

Connections

Featured in Howard Hughes: His Women and His Movies (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
dated
29 December 2013 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Hard, Fast, and Beautiful" from 1951 sounds like one of those racy '50s films that has a luridly colored poster, some babe in a strapless dress being attacked by lecherous man. It is instead a film about a tennis player and her mother - go figure.

This is a small film directed by Ida Lupino. Sally Forrest plays Florence Farley, a young tennis player who shows real talent, so much so that the local country club gives her a membership and then offers to sponsor her in a competition. Claire Trevor plays her ambitious mother, Millie, a disappointed woman who feels that her husband never amounted to anything. Now she has focused all of her attention on her daughter and plans on hitching her wagon to Florence's star.

Florence is eventually discovered by a promoter, Fletcher Locke (Carleton Young) who believes that with the right training on her backhand, she can go all the way. He also is very good at getting around Florence's amateur status and getting money for her. All this is fine with Millie. Then Florence and her boyfriend decide to get married, and he wants her to quit tennis.

I love Claire Trevor, and it's a shame to see a talent such as hers in what is essentially a B movie. The film has a few problems, one of which is, seen today, it's badly dated. A young woman who has devoted hours upon hours of work and wins the U.S. Open, and her fiancé tells her to quit, not bother with a European tour, and she's going to? I understand it was a different time, and women often married and stopped pursuing careers. Nothing wrong with that, but in this case, with a professional career just beginning, it seems odd.

The best parts of the film are the scenes with Flo's father (Kenneth Patterson) who is a gentle man, very proud of his daughter, hurt by his wife, and who just wants Florence's happiness.

All in all, not a very convincing film, with an excellent performance by Trevor, and uneven acting by Forrest and her not very likable boyfriend (Gordon McKay).


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