Into the Straight
Into the Straight is a 1949 Australian horse racing melodrama directed by T. O. McCreadie.
The stars were Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell and Muriel Steinbeck. They were quite a ‘hit’ when filming started in Scone June 1948. Their presence and the film crew provided a big boost to the local economy. My good friend Harley Walden remembered it well mainly because of the racing theme. He was about 11 of 12 at the time. Like ‘The Shiralee’ Scone’s reputation appeared to attract the movie world as a desirable location for shooting action scenes?
A romance set in the world of the sport of kings. The Curzons are a racehorse breeding family, who need to strengthen their blood stock to re-establish a fading reputation.
When they purchase a champion English horse, English horse trainer Hugh (James Workman) and playboy son Paul (Alan White) turn up at the stud, and discover that they’re both interested in Curzon daughter June (Nonnie Peifer). When she’s crippled in a fall and ends up in a wheelchair, Paul loses interest, but Hugh encourages her to write a piano concerto.
Meanwhile, poker-playing, weak-willed Curzon son Sam (Charles Tingwell) steals money from his father (George Randall) to pay off his gambling debts, and allows suspicion to fall on Paul.
Happily, thanks to Hugh, June learns to walk again and her piano concerto is given a brief outing on screen.
A horse which still belongs to June is secretly trained by Paul and wins the Melbourne Cup, but Paul strikes out when June’s sister tells him that she’s going to be his Aunty and has her own date, while another old flame turns up with toddler in hand.
Muriel Steinbeck plays mother Curzon, and Margo Lee turns up to deliver a Hollywood vamp parody of a night-club singer, who briefly gets amongst the men from the stud …
Shooting began in June 1948, on location in Scone and at the studio of Commonwealth Film Laboratories in Sydney. The Victoria Racing Club allowed a re-creation of the Melbourne Cup to be shot at Flemington Racecourse and scenes were also filmed at Randwick Racecourse. Several jockeys made cameos in the film, including Jack Purtell and George Moore.
The film featured a piano concerto which took up several minutes of screen time.
The film was well received in Perth but only had a short run in Sydney and Melbourne. It seems to have been eminently ‘forgettable’?