In the dark days of the depression, dance marathons became a way for desperate people to compete for prize money. Events would last for days, as contestants pushed themselves beyond the point of exhaustion while the barbarous crowds watched on, wagering money for sport and profit. Against this backdrop, the lives of a disparate group of contestants become intertwined. Brought together by chance, they move relentlessly around the dance floor in search of a dream... the clock ticks on... which of them will survive?
An excellent drama, well worth a watch
- They Shoot Horses, Don't They? review by RP
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Set in 1932 in the depths of the American recession, Robert (Michael Sarazzin) and Gloria (Jane Fonda) enter a dance marathon, with the last couple left standing supposedly picking up a $1,500 prize. The all-knowing, cynical, rabble-rousing MC (Gig Young) eggs on the contestants (including Susannah York), driving them to greater and greater feats of endurance with his rabble-rousing cry of 'Yowza, yowza, yowza!' The competition is, of course, a scam.
The film captures well the desperation that must have driven on real-life contestants and Gig Young won a well-deserved Oscar for his role. It really is a quite remarkable performance.
An excellent drama, well worth a watch. 4/5 stars.