Great Dan Patch, The

2230.THE GREAT DAN PATCH (1949-USA). WITH Dennis OÕKeefe, Gail Russell, Ruth WARRICK, CHARLOTTE GREENWOOD, HENRY HULL, CLARENCE MUSE. This engaging movie tells the story of the fabled harness racehorse Dan Patch, a magical name in sports history, who around the turn of the century thrilled racing fans across the nation. The horse is aptly described as “the best, the swiftest, the greatest of them all.” He would consistently win races at record-breaking speeds and ended his career competing more against his own marks than against any opponent. Yet the film also is a deeply human story filled with great warmth and feeling. Its key character is David Palmer, a young chemist who returns to his rural hometown to marry prim schoolteacher Ruth Treadwell. David’s father is a lover of horses who for forty years has been dreaming of developing a speedy pacer. He thinks he finally has found one. It is not Dan Patch, but rather a mare named Zelica. How Zelica comes to be the progenitor of Dan Patch and how the latter goes on to fulfill its destiny are just one part of the scenario. The other focuses on how David must go through various life experiences in order to realize his true place in the world. Two very different women play meaningful roles in the story. One is David’s wife, who quickly proves a vain and materialistic social climber. The other is the sensitive and tomboyish Cissy Lathrop, the daughter of Dan Patch trainer. 96 minutes. Racing Drama