The Great Dan Patch (1949)

93-94 mins | Biography | 22 July 1949

Director:

Joseph Newman

Producer:

John Taintor Foote

Cinematographer:

Gilbert Warrenton

Editor:

Fred W. Berger

Production Designer:

Jerome Pycha Jr.

Production Company:

W. R. Frank Productions
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HISTORY

This film's working title was Dan Patch . As depicted in the film, Dan Patch was a champion harness racer, born in 1896. He retired in 1909 after establishing nine world records for his owner, M. W. Savage. The film's press book claims that, as a boy, producer W. R. Frank witnessed Dan Patch's last appearance in Minneapolis. Dan Patch was also portrayed in the Disney film So Dear to My Heart (see below). A Nov 1947 DV news item reported that Stuart Heisler was to direct the film. Visalia Abbe, the horse portraying Dan Patch, was a four-year-old pacer from the Craig Cimmaron Ranch, near Phoenix, ... More Less

This film's working title was Dan Patch . As depicted in the film, Dan Patch was a champion harness racer, born in 1896. He retired in 1909 after establishing nine world records for his owner, M. W. Savage. The film's press book claims that, as a boy, producer W. R. Frank witnessed Dan Patch's last appearance in Minneapolis. Dan Patch was also portrayed in the Disney film So Dear to My Heart (see below). A Nov 1947 DV news item reported that Stuart Heisler was to direct the film. Visalia Abbe, the horse portraying Dan Patch, was a four-year-old pacer from the Craig Cimmaron Ranch, near Phoenix, AZ. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
23 Jul 1949.
---
Daily Variety
26 Nov 1947.
---
Daily Variety
13 Jul 1949.
---
Film Daily
14 Jul 49
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 48
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 48
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 49
p. 3, 11
Los Angeles Times
29 Nov 1948.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Aug 1949.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
23 Jul 49
p. 4689.
New York Times
9 Nov 49
p. 37.
Variety
20 Jul 49
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Lewis J.
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Gaffer
Stills
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Tech adv
SOURCES
SONGS
"Mixed Team," music and lyrics by Alexander Laszlo
"Can't Git You Then--Can't Git You Now," music by Martin Broones, lyrics by John Taintor Foote.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Dan Patch
Release Date:
22 July 1949
Production Date:
late November--mid December 1948 at General Service Studios
Copyright Claimant:
W. R. Frank Productions
Copyright Date:
22 July 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2411
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93-94
Length(in feet):
8,415
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13630
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the 1890s, David Palmer, a chemist in Chicago, returns to his home town of Oxford, Indiana, to marry schoolteacher Ruth Treadwell. David's father Dan and his aunt Netty greet him at the family's farm, where Dan breeds racehorses. Dan's horse trainer, Ben Lathrop, has a tomboy daughter Cissy, who is still in high school but has developed a crush on David. Dan has hoped that David and Ruth would live with him on the farm after they marry, but David announces that he has taken a new job in Indianapolis. Ruth, a social climber, is disappointed that they will not be living in Chicago, but they buy a large estate in Indianapolis and settle there. David returns to Oxford for track debut of Zelica, his father's new horse, but tragedy strikes when Voodoo, the groom, hooks Zelica up to a damaged sulky and the horse suffers career-ending injuries. However, as Zelica exhibited great stamina, Dan decides to breed her with Joe Patchen, a great stud horse in Illinois. A colt, Dan Patch, is born of the mating and develops into a potential champion. When Dan experiences a recurrence of a heart problem, Ben and Cissy decide to alert David and travel to his grand estate, replete with butler and maid, where they are treated badly by Ruth, who has become a socialite and has no interest in horses. After Ben tells David that Dan Patch has run a record quarter-mile in training, he and Cissy leave. Later, David receives a telegram from Aunt Netty informing him that his father is sick and he leaves immediately for Oxford. As his father dies, while looking at Dan Patch outside his ... +


In the 1890s, David Palmer, a chemist in Chicago, returns to his home town of Oxford, Indiana, to marry schoolteacher Ruth Treadwell. David's father Dan and his aunt Netty greet him at the family's farm, where Dan breeds racehorses. Dan's horse trainer, Ben Lathrop, has a tomboy daughter Cissy, who is still in high school but has developed a crush on David. Dan has hoped that David and Ruth would live with him on the farm after they marry, but David announces that he has taken a new job in Indianapolis. Ruth, a social climber, is disappointed that they will not be living in Chicago, but they buy a large estate in Indianapolis and settle there. David returns to Oxford for track debut of Zelica, his father's new horse, but tragedy strikes when Voodoo, the groom, hooks Zelica up to a damaged sulky and the horse suffers career-ending injuries. However, as Zelica exhibited great stamina, Dan decides to breed her with Joe Patchen, a great stud horse in Illinois. A colt, Dan Patch, is born of the mating and develops into a potential champion. When Dan experiences a recurrence of a heart problem, Ben and Cissy decide to alert David and travel to his grand estate, replete with butler and maid, where they are treated badly by Ruth, who has become a socialite and has no interest in horses. After Ben tells David that Dan Patch has run a record quarter-mile in training, he and Cissy leave. Later, David receives a telegram from Aunt Netty informing him that his father is sick and he leaves immediately for Oxford. As his father dies, while looking at Dan Patch outside his window, David promises that he will take over the horse's development. When David decides to build a training track at the farm, Ruth is very critical of the cost, and David realizes that he is trapped in a loveless marriage. Dan Patch's first public appearance at the Boswell County Fair results in a win. After several more wins in Indiana, David and Ben decide that the horse is ready for the grand circuit-- Detroit, Cleveland and Columbus--where he triumphs. At Lexington, Kentucky, Ben, who has been driving the horse, has an attack of sciatica, and he and Cissy persuade David to take over. However, as all the other drivers have withdrawn their entries, knowing that their horses cannot beat Dan, David agrees to run Dan in an exhibition mile against time, and against the two minutes, one and one-quarter seconds of his sire, Joe Patchen. Dan breaks the record by running the mile in one minute, fifty-nine and three-quarter seconds. After the race, David receives a telegram from Ruth summoning him back to Indianapolis, where she tells him that an important chemical contract has been canceled and expresses great concern about the security of their lavish life-style. She insists that he sell Dan and the farm. When David goes to the farm to explain the situation to Ben and Cissy, he discovers that she is being courted by a young driver, Bud Ransome. As Cissy and David care for a foaling mare, a fire breaks out in the stable, but they are able to extinguish it and save the horses. Later, David returns to Ruth, and informs her that he intends to keep the farm and sell their estate. Ruth, ever the social climber, refuses to contemplate living on the farm, and they decide to go their separate ways. David surrenders everything, except the farm, to her. Cissy is thrilled when David returns and he begins to realize the depth of her affection for him. They both agree to sell Dan Patch for $60,000 and, over the next four years, the horse tours the country in a private rail car, racing at state fairs and attempting to beat his own record. The horse's name is used to promote cigars, sarsaparilla, playing cards and sacks of feed. Dan eventually reduces his record time to one minute, fifty-six seconds and in September 1906, runs his last race before retiring at the Minneapolis State Fair. Dan and Cissy have married and bring their young daughter and Ben to see Dan run his final race. To the great delight of the crowd, Dan beats his own record by a second. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.