Ride the Pink Horse: A Film Noir that’s Hard To Find but Worth the Effort

Robert Montgomery (father of Elizabeth of Bewitched fame) earned his place in film noir heaven with Ride the Pink Horse. The disillusioned, rootless ex-GI, is the ultimate film noir protagonist (though the cynical, hard drinking private eye vies for the distinction) and Lucky Gagin is the apotheosis of the type.

I wish I knew more of the history of this movie’s production as it might explain why Montgomery made it himself (i.e., directed as well as starred) and why copies of it are so hard to find today. Maybe there were financial or copyright problems and Montgomery ended up putting in his own money, despite the Universal Studios credit on the finished film. In any event, of the great film noirs, this is the hardest to find available on DVD or video. I searched for it for years until some kind person copied it in 10 pieces from a Turner Classic Movies broadcast and put it on Youtube (It has since been removed).

It’s gritty, it’s exciting, and Montgomery delivers both as an actor and director. Oscar nominee Thomas Gomez gives the best performance of his career, and Hecht and Lederer, two of Hollywood’s finest screenwriters, are in top form. If you have a chance to see this movie, don’t miss it. And if you find a way to buy a copy, please let us all know.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

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