Hoping to get even with gambler/bookie Johnny Silk, racetrack owners and partners Dorval and Farley convince down-and-out Martha Preston to pose as a rich, single French countess, whom Silk... See full summary »
Hoping to get even with gambler/bookie Johnny Silk, racetrack owners and partners Dorval and Farley convince down-and-out Martha Preston to pose as a rich, single French countess, whom Silk falls in love with and asks to marry. After the marriage Martha, who has genuinely fallen in love with Silk, innocently feeds his inside betting information to Dorval, causing Silk to lose a fortune. When she realizes what she's done, she confesses all to her husband, who becomes enraged and orders her out of his life. Faced with poverty, she teams up once again with Dorval as he asks her to betray Silk one last time. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
I'm not quite sure what happened to Ricardo Cortez' career. True enough, he was pretty shaky in his early talkies, still (mis)cast as the foreign lover with a Bowery accent, but by the time this movie was made, he was absolutely solid and well cast as a gambler. Perhaps by this point in his career, people were no longer interested in paying money to find out.
Mary Astor, on the other hand, had finally learned her craft. In silent movies, she had relied on her immense, youthful beauty. In her early talkies, she seems timid and overwhelmed, but by this time she knew how to steal a scene by repose: in a swirling sea of movement, she was the still spot. Think of her in THE MALTESE FALCON, seated in the armchair. Think of her in DODSWORTH offering her hand to Walter Huston. Think of her in PALM BEACH STORY chattering a mile a minute.... but no. Everyone is brilliant in a Preston Sturges comedy, and unexpected.
She is not note perfect here: a bit weak in the early scenes. But still, by the 20-minute mark in this one-hour programmer, she owns it. Take a look at it.
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