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William A. Wellman
After waiter and would-be novelist Peter Stanislavsky marries Marcia, he learns to play bridge to satisfy his wife, despite feeling that it is a childish game. Her friends all play the game avidly, but argue often about the proper play. He's called one evening to serve as a waiter at a bridge party given by Lola Starr, but is asked to be a fourth for one of the bridge tables, where eminent bridge expert Cedric Van Dorn is seated. Peter trounces the expert, and when asked what method he uses to play, he jokingly says the "Stanislavsky method," which has no rules of bidding or play. It makes headlines; Speed McCann ghostwrites a best-selling book for him; a national tour is set up with Marcia as his partner; and his method sweeps the country. But slowly Peter begins to question Marcia's play, leading to arguments because it is a violation of the only rule in his system. And when he gives private lessons to Lola, Marcia leaves him thinking there is something between them. With his ... Written by
Arthur Hausner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A brilliant Russian émigré devises the Stanislavsky' system for winning at contract bridge - which makes him and his beautiful wife the GRAND SLAM Sweethearts of America.
What could have been just another silly soap opera is elevated by fine production values & excellent acting to the status of a very enjoyable little comedy. A few unexpected touches are thrown in to keep the viewer's attention engaged - the way in which the principle cast is introduced as faces on a deck of cards; the introduction of a zany acrobat into the plot for no other reason than to enjoy a bit of lunacy; and the way in which a wide variety of different kinds of Americans are shown to be transfixed by listening to the broadcast of the concluding game.
Paul Lukas & Loretta Young do very well as the Bridge Sweethearts - Lukas suave & sophisticated and Miss Young passionately loving and beautiful (even if the script keeps her puffing on a cigarette a bit too much). They are fun to watch, even when their behavior is not always the most believable or compelling.
Frank McHugh gives another good performance as a relentlessly cheerful ghost writer who adores Miss Young. The delightful Glenda Farrell eschews her customary wisecracking persona in a small role as McHugh's ditsy gal pal. Roscoe Karns handles the fast-talking dialogue as a brash radio announcer. Diminutive Ferdinand Gottschalk is wonderful as a snobbish bridge expert.
Movie mavens will recognize Dewey Robinson as a belligerent nightclub patron; Emma Dunn as a sob sister reporter; Paul Porcasi as the owner of the Russian nightclub; Charles Lane as a Russian waiter; and Jimmy Conlin as a kibitzer at the final bridge game - all uncredited.
The film takes advantage of the fad for contract bridge which had swept across the country since its development in the 1920's. It expects the viewer to have a basic knowledge of the intricacies of the game and makes no attempt to explain anything to the uninformed.
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