6.9/10
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22 user 13 critic

Smart Money (1931)

Immigrant Greek barber has uncommon skills in playing poker and soon rises in the seedy world of illegal gambling, but pretty blondes remain his Achilles' heel.

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Writers:

(screen story and dialogue), (screen story and dialogue) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Sleepy Sam
...
Marie
...
District Attorney's Girl
Maurice Black ...
Greek Barber
Billy House ...
Irontown Salesman (as William House)
...
Alexander Amenoppopolus
Gladys Lloyd ...
Second Cigar Stand Clerk
Polly Walters ...
Lola
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Storyline

Nick Venizelos, an immigrant Greek barber, has an uncommon affinity for poker and other sorts of wagering and a group of his friends bankroll him in a big game, where his weakness for pretty blondes is taken advantage of by sleazy operator Sleepy Sam who cleans him out in a rigged game. Nick accepts help from his buddy Jack as they turn the tables on the grifters, but triumph soon changes to tragedy. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

greek | blonde | barber | poker | grifter | See All (56) »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 July 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Mulheres Enganam Sempre  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the time the movie was made, James Cagney had appeared in several movies but was not yet a big star. During the making of Smart Money (1931), Cagney was simultaneously filming The Public Enemy (1931) with director William A. Wellman. (Screenwriters Kubec Glasmon and John Bright were re-writing dialogue for "Public Enemy" while working on the set of "Smart Money.") Knowing that his friend Edward G. Robinson was already a star, Cagney deferred to Robinson in most of their scenes together. But by the time "Smart Money" was released, "The Public Enemy" had been out for several months and had made Cagney a star as well, so Warner Brothers put Cagney and Robinson's faces together on posters for the film, and gave them equal billing. See more »

Goofs

According to video commentators Ursini and Silver, Robinson starred as Louis Pasteur, a role that was played by Paul Muni. Also they credit "Scarface" as a Universal picture. It was actually a Caddo Picture released by United Artists. See more »

Quotes

Nick 'The Barber' Venizelos: [inquiring at cigar stand] Say, uh, what are those things for?
Marie: Poker dice.
Nick 'The Barber' Venizelos: Oh, you gamble with them?
Marie: Yes, sir, it's a dollar if you lose, and if you win, you get $2 worth of merchandise.
Nick 'The Barber' Venizelos: [looking at her laciviously] Anything behind the counter?
Marie: [coyly] Anything in merchandise.
Nick 'The Barber' Venizelos: Heh, heh, well, you're a cute little package.
[he chuckles]
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Soundtracks

He's a Devil
(uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
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User Reviews

 
A smart, fast, well constructed movie, with a shining Edw G. Robinson
12 August 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Smart Money (1931)

A clever story about crime and misguided love (quasi-love) and about the love of money. What's wrong with that? Nothing here. With a remarkable performance by Edward G. Robinson (as usual), and supporting roles by a young James Cagney and a series of blondes who will more or less look alike at first. It might have been something of a formula production for the cast and crew, but it's during the lively pre-1934 sound era where, especially at a studio like Warner Bros., things manage to pop one way or another.

As much as this is a very good film, completely engaging and without gaffes or sentimental slow downs, it remains secondary for 1931 because of several interesting things. First, Robinson had just become famous for "Little Caesar" where he had a shining (and roughly similar) role as a sort of good guy gangster. Second, Cagney was in a rare supporting role, not yet famous for his breakout role in "The Public Enemy" later the same year. Both of these Warner films are better, all around. And a third twist is the appearance early on of Boris Karloff, who was about to launch to superstardom as, yes, "Frankenstein," a Universal film from later in, yes, 1931.

But you should watch "Smart Money" for what it does so well--tells a fast, multi-layered story with economy and life, and with great performances by the leads. The story and direction might fall short of classic, but it's still really solid.


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