To Please a Lady

To Please a Lady is a 1950 American romantic drama film produced and directed by Clarence Brown and starring Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck. The climactic race scene was shot at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

To Please a Lady
Theatrical poster
Directed byClarence Brown
Produced byClarence Brown
Written byMarge Decker
Barré Lyndon
StarringClark Gable
Barbara Stanwyck
Music byBronislau Kaper
CinematographyHarold Rosson
Edited byRobert Kern
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • October 13, 1950 (1950-10-13)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,922,000[1]


Racing driver Mike Brannan has a reputation for doing whatever it takes to win. Powerful nationwide columnist, Regina Forbes, decides to interview Mike just before a race, and becomes annoyed when he is rather brusque with her. Mike and popular competitor Joe Youghal fight for the lead. When a car they are about to lap crashes in front of them, Mike safely drives around it on the inside, forcing Joe to try to go outside. In her column the next day, Regina blames Mike for Joe's death and brings up a prior racing fatality involving him. As a result, he is barred by nervous racing circuit managers anxious to avoid bad publicity.

Mike has to sell his race car. He becomes a star stunt driver for Joie Chitwood, performing dangerous stunts at circuses for $100 a show. When Regina's assistant, Gregg, updates her about Mike, she shows unexpected interest. She goes to see how Mike is doing. He tells her he has earned enough money to buy a car of his own and enter the big leagues, where Regina has no influence. She provokes him into first slapping and then kissing her. She likes it, and they start seeing each other.

He is very successful on the racetrack, but their relationship is rocky. Finally comes the big race at Indianapolis Speedway. At a key moment, Mike drives cautiously rather than aggressively, but his car flips anyway. He is rushed to the hospital, where Regina lets him know that she is proud of him.

Because Barbara Stanwyck was at the Indianapolis Speedway to film the final scenes for the movie she was on hand in Victory Lane after the 1950 race to offer the real 500 winner, Johnny Parsons, the traditional congratulatory kiss. [2]



According to MGM records the film earned $2,061,000 in the US and Canada and $861,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $47,000.[1][3]


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. Wikipedia "1950 Indianapolis 500"
  3. "Top Grosses of 1950". Variety. January 3, 1951. p. 58.
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