Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951)

76 or 78 mins | Drama | 9 June 1951

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Mother of a Champion and Loving Cup . Voice-over narration, spoken by Claire Trevor as her character "Milly Farley," is heard intermittently throughout the picture. Sally Forrest was borrowed from M-G-M for the production. Eleanor Tennant, who is credited onscreen as a technical advisor, coached Forrest on her tennis-playing scenes, according to a HR news item. Location shooting took place at Forest Hills Tennis Club in Queens, New York, and in North Hollywood, CA. As noted by a HR news item and the DV review, footage of actual tennis matches at Forest Hills and Wimbledon were included in the picture. According to the HR review, the film, which marked Ida Lupino's third official directing assignment and was co-produced by The Filmakers, the company she ran with her then-husband, producer Collier Young, cost less than $300,000 to produce. Lupino and actor Robert Ryan can be seen briefly in the film as tennis match ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Mother of a Champion and Loving Cup . Voice-over narration, spoken by Claire Trevor as her character "Milly Farley," is heard intermittently throughout the picture. Sally Forrest was borrowed from M-G-M for the production. Eleanor Tennant, who is credited onscreen as a technical advisor, coached Forrest on her tennis-playing scenes, according to a HR news item. Location shooting took place at Forest Hills Tennis Club in Queens, New York, and in North Hollywood, CA. As noted by a HR news item and the DV review, footage of actual tennis matches at Forest Hills and Wimbledon were included in the picture. According to the HR review, the film, which marked Ida Lupino's third official directing assignment and was co-produced by The Filmakers, the company she ran with her then-husband, producer Collier Young, cost less than $300,000 to produce. Lupino and actor Robert Ryan can be seen briefly in the film as tennis match spectators. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Jun 1951.
---
Daily Variety
23 May 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 May 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 50
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 50
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jul 50
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 50
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 51
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 May 51
p. 861.
New York Times
2 Jul 51
p. 16.
Variety
30 May 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Ida Lupino Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus
Mus dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Asst to prod
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel American Girl by John R. Tunis (New York, 1930).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Loving Cup
Mother of a Champion
Release Date:
9 June 1951
Premiere Information:
World premiere in San Francisco: 23 May 1951
Production Date:
12 July--3 August 1950
addl scenes mid February 1951
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
23 May 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1054
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
76 or 78
Length(in feet):
7,025
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14727
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

One day, while practicing tennis in her Santa Monica driveway, eighteen-year-old Florence Farley meets Gordon McKay, who works at a nearby country club. Attracted to the young man, Florence introduces Gordon to her mother Milly, a middle-class housewife, and Milly, realizing he comes from a socially prominent family, encourages his interest in Florence. Gordon invites Florence to play tennis with him at the club, and Florence easily bests him. Florence's reputation as a tennis player quickly grows, and after a few months, the country club's manager, J. R. Carpenter, honors her with a complimentary membership. Carpenter also reveals that members of the club have offered to pay her way to Philadelphia so that she can compete in the national junior tennis championship. Although her modest father Will is somewhat reluctant to accept the club's generosity, ambitious Milly grabs at the offer and finagles a free trip for herself. In Philadelphia, Milly encounters Fletcher Locke, a tennis coach and promoter who has taken an interest in Florence. Milly flirts with Fletcher and is thrilled when he suggests that Florence could become a major tennis star with proper training. Florence wins the junior championship and returns to California, where she enjoys her new celebrity. When she accepts fifty dollars to play tennis with a rich girl, however, Gordon denounces her for jeopardizing her amateur standing. Fletcher then shows up at the Farleys' and offers to sponsor her on an East Coast tennis tour that summer. Confused, Florence confides in her sympathetic father, who advises her to make up with Gordon and go on the tour. To Florence's relief, Gordon forgives her and ... +


One day, while practicing tennis in her Santa Monica driveway, eighteen-year-old Florence Farley meets Gordon McKay, who works at a nearby country club. Attracted to the young man, Florence introduces Gordon to her mother Milly, a middle-class housewife, and Milly, realizing he comes from a socially prominent family, encourages his interest in Florence. Gordon invites Florence to play tennis with him at the club, and Florence easily bests him. Florence's reputation as a tennis player quickly grows, and after a few months, the country club's manager, J. R. Carpenter, honors her with a complimentary membership. Carpenter also reveals that members of the club have offered to pay her way to Philadelphia so that she can compete in the national junior tennis championship. Although her modest father Will is somewhat reluctant to accept the club's generosity, ambitious Milly grabs at the offer and finagles a free trip for herself. In Philadelphia, Milly encounters Fletcher Locke, a tennis coach and promoter who has taken an interest in Florence. Milly flirts with Fletcher and is thrilled when he suggests that Florence could become a major tennis star with proper training. Florence wins the junior championship and returns to California, where she enjoys her new celebrity. When she accepts fifty dollars to play tennis with a rich girl, however, Gordon denounces her for jeopardizing her amateur standing. Fletcher then shows up at the Farleys' and offers to sponsor her on an East Coast tennis tour that summer. Confused, Florence confides in her sympathetic father, who advises her to make up with Gordon and go on the tour. To Florence's relief, Gordon forgives her and proposes that they marry once the tour is over and he has a "real job." After an initial struggle, particularly with her backhand, Florence becomes a serious contender on the women's circuit. When Florence makes the finals at Forest Hills, Fletcher presents Milly with a check from the president of the Continental Hotel chain and promises many future endorsements and a European tour if her daughter should win. As Gordon watches from the stands and her now-invalid father listens to the radio broadcast from home, Florence bests her opponent in the final match. Milly and Fletcher's glee at her victory is short-lived, however, as Florence announces that she is retiring to marry Gordon. Desperate for Florence's success to continue, Milly, whose approval of Gordon has diminished since learning he is not wealthy, talks Florence into asking Gordon to marry her in Europe while she is on tour. Gordon angrily rejects the idea and breaks his engagement to Florence. In Europe, Florence gets drunk for the first time and reveals to Milly that she knows that she has been receiving gifts and payments in her name. Embittered, Florence then declares that she will now play the game the way that her mother does--for money. Triumphant at Wimbledon, Florence establishes herself as a world champion and returns to the United States, where her lavish lifestyle draws much suspicion and criticism. On the eve of an important match, however, Florence and Milly receive word that Will is seriously ill, and Florence insists on flying to his bedside. After Florence vows to win the match for her father, Will derides Milly for using Florence to fulfill her own selfish needs and for abandoning their marriage. Despite exhaustion and depression, Florence successfully defends her national title the next day. She then announces that she is retiring from tennis and leaves with Gordon at her side. Later, the abandoned Milly sits forlornly in the stands as night descends. +

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.