In Old Kentucky ★★★

Beloved by the public, humorist Will Rogers was a movie star despite (or maybe because of) the fact that he only played one character. No matter the name or occupation of his character, Rogers was always portraying the same person, a version of himself. In this film, Steve Tapley (Rogers) is a horse trainer helping a crotchety old man and his granddaughter prepare their horse for the big race. The horse wins, of course!

Rogers was the personification of homespun humor and charm, and his films make for mostly pleasant viewing.

A detriment to Rogers’ movies (and many other films of the period) is the racists portrayals of the African-American characters. In this film, famed dancer Bill Robinson plays Rogers’ servant and displays his tap-dancing talent in several scenes. Robinson’s character is named Wash but is generally referred to as Steve’s “Boy”. A positive in the portrayal is that, although somewhat servile, the “Wash” character is a real person and not a caricature in the vein of Willie Best or Mantan Moreland.