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The Big Gamble (1931)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  4 September 1931 (USA)
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Unable to repay a substantial gambling debt to mob boss North, Alan Beckwith concocts a last-ditch scheme. Allowing North to take out a $100,000 insurance policy on his life, Alan agrees to... See full summary »



(story), (screen play) (as Walter De Leon) , 1 more credit »
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Title: The Big Gamble (1931)

The Big Gamble (1931) on IMDb 6/10

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Complete credited cast:
Alan Beckwith (as Bill Boyd)
William Collier Jr. ...
Ralph Ince ...
Geneva Mitchell ...


Unable to repay a substantial gambling debt to mob boss North, Alan Beckwith concocts a last-ditch scheme. Allowing North to take out a $100,000 insurance policy on his life, Alan agrees to commit suicide after the mandantory one-year moratorium has elapsed. To make things legal, North forces Alan to marry Beverly (Whose brother is also indebted to North) as the beneficiary-of-record. He also assigns "hitman wannabe" Squint to both keep an eye on Alan and "do the deed" when the time comes. But as the year progresses, Alan falls in love with Beverly, befriends Squint and decides he doesn't want to die. But how can he convince North to allow a 100 grand to slip through his fingers? Written by Chris Stone <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gambling | remake | based on novel | See All (3) »


Crime | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 September 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Den største Trumf  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Nora Dugan: I didn't mean to be protruding, but we've got to go.
See more »


Remake of Red Dice (1926) See more »

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User Reviews

Early talkie gangster film
12 January 2009 | by (southwest US) – See all my reviews

The Big Gamble opens on New Year's eve, with a broke gambler trying to figure out how to work his way out of debt. Alan Beckwith (Bill Boyd) gets local thug Andrew North (Warner Oland) and Beverly Ames (Dorothy Sebastian) involved in a scheme to come up with money fast. Viewers will recognize Warner Oland as the lead in all the Charlie Chan movies in the 1930s. Also keep an eye out for James Gleason as Squint Dugan, small time crook. He will go on to play the ultimate slow-witted New York police lieutenant in just about every film made in the 1940s. Zasu Pitts plays Dugan's wife, maid to the Beckwiths. Sound and light quality are a little iffy, but that can be forgiven, since it was the early days of talkies. The dialogue is all a bit stilted and hesitating, apparently since everyone was new to the live sound track. Director Fred Niblo only made two more films after this one. Niblo had an interesting history; his brother- in- law was George M. Cohan, and Niblo was one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Pictures. Not the strongest script or acting, but its a fun, low-key film. Even a couple surprises.

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