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Gambling with Souls (1936)

Unrated | | Crime, Drama | September 1936 (USA)
Young girls are cheated in rigged gambling games and then forced into prostitution to pay off their debts.



(original story)

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Complete credited cast:
Martha Chapin ...
Mrs. Mae Miller
'Lucky' Wilder
'Million Dollar' Taylor
Gay Sheridan ...
Molly Murdock
District Attorney (as Ed. Keane)
Dr. John Miller
Drunk Man in Bar
Eddie Laughton ...


Mae Miller wants the finer things in life, luxuries that she feels her husband, a doctor, cannot provide for her. She begins to gamble in order to ring in spending money for herself, but winds up deep in debt. To pay her dues, she is reduced to the shame of selling herself. Written by Kieran Kenney

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Rigorously Adults Only! See more »


Crime | Drama


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

September 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Vice Racket  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The dive restaurant where Carolyn goes slumming is the same one that appears in the opening scenes of Marihuana (1936). The house that Mae and her husband share also appears in Slaves in Bondage (1937) and the vanity set in Mae's bedroom also shows up in Reefer Madness (1936), where it's also owned by a character named Mae. See more »


The shadow of the microphone moves up the wall in the foreground when the boy with the hat is dragged into a room. See more »


Attorney: There's nothing I can do.
Dr. Miller: [holding his wife's hands in his] Yes, there is! You can give me back my wife!
Attorney: I'm sorry, but that has to be decided by a judge and a jury.
See more »


Referenced in American Grindhouse (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Vice a' Versa
28 November 2004 | by (Brooklyn NY USA) – See all my reviews

(Spoilers) Educational movie about the evil's of gambling and how they can destroy even the best brightest and good among us.The movie starts off with a police raid of an illegal city gambling den that ends with the shooting death of the mobster who runs it Frank "Lucky" Wilder, Wheeler Oakman, a obvious fictional "Lucky" Luciano mob kingpin. Mae Miller, Martha Chapin, is caught by the police red-handed with the smoking gun still in her hand.What caused Mae an upstanding citizen who never was in trouble with the law in her life to end up charged with first degree murder?

Later in the D.A's office, the D.A looking a lot like the legendary 1930's New State crime fighter Thomas E. Dewey, Mae tells her story with her heart-broken and shocked husband Dr. Miller, Robert Frazer, present. Some time back at a local garden party Mae won $105.00 gambling on a boxing match and was approached by Molly Murdock, Gay Sheridan, who encouraged her to go with Molly to this gambling den in the city to have fun together with her. Unknown to Mae Molly works for that notorious gangster Frank "Lucky" Wilder as a madam who's out looking for new recruits for his prostitution racket. Rigging the roulette wheel so that Mae could win it turns out that at one point she won over $5,000.00 and spent it on fancy clothes and a new car as soon as she got it.

Mae's little sister Carolyn, Janet Eastman, is so impressed with Mae's lifestyle that she becomes interested in going to "Frank's Place" and make a bundle too and then live it up like Mae is doing. Then things start to turn around where Mae starts to lose and runs up a debt to "Lucky" for over $10,000.00, money that he so "gracefully" loaned her. Not being able to pay "Lucky" Wilder off Mae is forced to do unthinkable things like going out with strange men and putting out sexually for them in order to get the "blood money" that she owes Wilder.

A total wreck and mentally and psychically destroyed Mae tries to get away from Wilder but he threatens to tell her husband about her secret life if she pulls out of his control, but the worse is yet to happen to poor Mae. little Carolyn also gets involved with the Wilder mob as a dancer and Mae in shock and outrage tries to go to the Wilder nightclub where Carolyn is working to take her back home but Wilder has her thrown out.

Later Carolyn turns to even worse vices as she like Mae gets hooked on to the lifestyle that getting easy money, like by gambling, leads to. Found on the street one night and seriously injured from a back alley abortion, Carolyn obviously was knocked up by one of her Johns,Carolyn dies in the hospital with both her brother-in-law Dr. Miller, who worked there, and her sister Mae by her side.

Enraged and almost suicidal Mae goes to Wilder's gambling den and just as the police raid the joint, did she tip them off?, shoots him dead after telling him what a lowlife heel he is for what he did not only to her and Carolyn but to the scores of other people that he exploited. Mae shooting Wilder didn't at all look unprovoked. It seemed like Wilder was about to pull a gun out of his suit just before Mae shot him.

Back at the D.A's office Dr. Miller pleads with him to spear Mae for what she did saying that she bared her soul and that she only exterminated a vile and evil creature, Frank "Lucky" Wilder, who was only a menace to society and deserved what he got and that Mae had already suffered enough. The D.A in his ultimate wisdom tells Dr. Miller that it's up to a court and jury to decide what she did was either right or wrong.

Better then the far more famous "Reefer Madness" and far more accurate in it's subject matter "Gambling with Souls" is as prevalent today on the evil's of compulsive uncontrollable and illegal gambling as it was back then in 1936.

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