Melbourne Cup meets the Marx Brothers in this 1934 vaudeville romp starring Australian comedian George Wallace as an accident-prone stablehand.
Inspired by the plot to murder champion racehorse Phar Lap ahead of the 1930 Melbourne Cup, this musical comedy features early Australian superstar George “Onkus” Wallace as a disaster-prone grocer’s assistant, who stumbles into a job as a stablehand at a stud farm. There, he befriends champion racehorse Hotspur with his magic whistle, moonlights as an all-singing-and-dancing cabaret waiter and bumbles his way into foiling the scheme of local gangsters. Everything a viewer wants in a three-reeler!
Shot in large part on location around Flemington Racecourse and Kilsyth, which on the big screen are more reminiscent of country Victoria than metropolitan suburbs, A Ticket in Tatts is a fascinating glimpse of early-20th-century Melbourne. Wallace, one of the biggest Australian stars of the era, proves a dab hand at slapstick, vaudeville and full-tilt stage performance alike, and his prowess is matched by standout turns from starlets Joyce Turner and Dorothy Fleming. The whole delightful thing even bears an uncanny resemblance – right down to the horse-and-whistle routine – to the Marx Brothers’ A Day at the Races, filmed four years later.
[Wallace’s] songs and tap-dancing, together with his experiment in band-conducting are good fun, and the race track scene (shot during the Melbourne Cup) has captured all the real thrill.
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