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Francis Goes to the Races is a 1951 American black-and-white comedy film from Universal-International, produced by Leonard Goldstein, directed by Arthur Lubin, that stars Donald O'Connor, Piper Laurie, and Cecil Kellaway. The distinctive voice of Francis is a voice-over by actor Chill Wills.

Francis Goes to the Races
Directed byArthur Lubin
Produced byLeonard Goldstein
Written byRobert Arthur (story)
Oscar Brodney (screenplay)
David Stern (screenplay and characters)
StarringDonald O'Connor
Piper Laurie
Cecil Kellaway
CinematographyIrving Glassberg
Production
company
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal-International
Release date
  • May 1, 1951 (1951-05-01)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$2.3 million (US rentals)[1]

This is a sequel to Universal-International's Francis.

Contents

PlotEdit

Francis the Talking Mule and his sidekick Peter Sterling visit Colonel Travers and his granddaughter on their family horse farm. Peter soon finds himself involved in the world of horse racing and a crime boss and his men trying to "fix" races involving the Travers' horses.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

Francis had been a success, and in May 1950 Universal announced they had bought the film rights to David Stern's character Francis. These included rights to his 1948 novel Francis Goes to Washington and to any other Francis books that he may write. Universal could make an unlimited number of film sequels and use the character for TV, radio, and commercials. For these rights Stern was paid a reported $60,000.

Francis Goes to Washington was meant to be the first sequel.[2][3] However, the filming of Washington was postponed as there were "too many complications" for the film "to be made as things stand at the present."[4] As a result the film was never made.

The production of Francis Goes to the Races was then announced in October 1950.[5] Production started November 1950.[6] The film was shot at Santa Anita racecourse. Hill Prince, Coaltown, and Moonrush were among the real life horses who appeared in the film.[7]

ReceptionEdit

The Washington Post called the film "smooth and cheery".[8]

Video releasesEdit

The original film, Francis (1950), was released in 1978 as one of the first-ever titles in the new LaserDisc format, DiscoVision Catalog #22-003.[9] It was then re-issued on LaserDisc in May 1994 by MCA/Universal Home Video (Catalog #: 42024) as part of an Encore Edition Double Feature with Francis Goes to the Races (1951).

The first two Francis films were released again in 2004 by Universal Pictures on Region 1 and Region 4 DVD, along with the next two in the series, as The Adventures of Francis the Talking Mule Vol. 1. Several years later, Universal released all 7 Francis films as a set on three Region 1 and Region 4 DVDs, Francis The Talking Mule: The Complete Collection.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952
  2. ^ LOOKING AT HOLLYWOOD: Bette Davis in Joyous Mood Over Work on New Picture Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 13 Mar 1950: b14.
  3. ^ 'FRANCIS' STORIES ARE BOUGHT BY U.-I.: Studio Acquires All Rights to David Stern's Future Yarns About the Army Mule By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 17 May 1950: 35.
  4. ^ Drama: Hugh Marlowe Romantic Rival of Milland; Wald, Krasna to Seek Talent Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 29 May 1951: A7.
  5. ^ KATZ AND KRAMER SET UP FILM FIRM: Former Metro Executive Puts Up $2,000,000 in Venture With Independent Producer Movie About "Dizzy" Dean By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 30 Oct 1950: 23.
  6. ^ KATZ AND KRAMER SET UP FILM FIRM: Former Metro Executive Puts Up $2,000,000 in Venture With Independent Producer Movie About "Dizzy" Dean By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 30 Oct 1950: 23.
  7. ^ Santa Anita Film Locale Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 28 Aug 1951: B7.
  8. ^ Mule Francis Now Training Race Horses By Orval Hopkins Post Reporter. The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C] 05 July 1951: 13.
  9. ^ [1] (The DiscoVision Library)

External linksEdit