The professional gambler Ross Hadley is the owner of a posh gaming establishment in the heart of New York. Hadley's main antagonist is his childhood friend Mike McGlennon. McGlennon, now a ... See full summary »
The professional gambler Ross Hadley is the owner of a posh gaming establishment in the heart of New York. Hadley's main antagonist is his childhood friend Mike McGlennon. McGlennon, now a police lieutenant, is determined to stop the gambling activities of Hadley. Hadley's and McGlennnon's relationship becomes more complex, when they notice, that they both are in love with the attractive Mary Hayes. Mary sings in nightclubs under the stage name 'Vi Parker'. Written by
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »
Apparently there is a division of opinion among the critics. Some have said this was B picture ripoff of Manhattan Melodrama, others opt for Angels With Dirty Faces. If I had to choose I would choose the latter because I could see any number of other Warner Brothers features here that would have starred James Cagney and Pat O'Brien.
Gamblers Choice was made by the Pine-Thomas producing team who did a lot of B films over at Paramount and early in their careers, their stars were a pair of guys who were big in the early sound era, but had slipped in status by the Forties, Richard Arlen and/or Chester Morris.
Morris stars here as the ruthless gambler type who grew up in those years entitled the Gay Nineties. Without as much flash as James Cagney gave his parts, Morris gives a pretty good account of himself as the bad boy who is loyal in the end to his friends.
Those friends being singer Nancy Kelly and policeman Russell Hayden who is the upright and honest cop that Pat O'Brien was always playing. Hayden's own sense of loyalties to his friends almost trips him up and Kelly has to choose between Morris and Hayden.
The production values were not MGM gloss, but you did get a nice sense of New York in the Roosevelt-Taft era before World War I. Sheldon Leonard as Morris's rival gambling palace owner and Lee Patrick the bookmaker's widow who Morris romances and then throws over for Kelly standout themselves in their roles.
Nothing terribly special, but no one need be ashamed of their work here. Gamblers Choice holds up very nicely for today.
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