In honor of this weekend’s Academy Awards, The Flick is a new series of reviews looking back at the good, the bad and the ugly in tennis-related cinema. This first edition looks at Ida Lupino’s 1951 film, “Hard, Fast and Beautiful.”
“From the very moment you were born i knew you were different. I could see things in you that no one else could and I knew that somehow I was going to get the very best there was out of life for you. Listening to you drive that ball against the garage door used to drive me crazy. That’s because I always wanted something better for you. And I made my mind up to get it no matter what I had to do.“
And thus begins the story of young tennis prodigy Florence Farley, a small-town girl from Santa Monica, Calif., (if such a thing exists), who had never been on a plane or east of the San Bernardino Mountains before a chance encounter ushered her into big-time amateur tennis. Driven by an opportunistic and manipulative mother who sees her daughter as her ticket into the high-class life she believes she’s entitled to and surrounded by benefactors and agents who see her as nothing more than a cash cow, “Hard, Fast and Beautiful” is the classic story of an overly controlling stage parent who uses the “good parent” guise to mask her selfish ambitions.