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Two Smart People (1946)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 4 June 1946 (USA)
Director Jules Dassin (Night and the City) combines the best of film noir, crime caper and romance in this little gem starring Lucille Ball, John Hodiak and Lloyd Nolan.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Ricki Woodner
Ace Connors
Bob Simms
Señor Rodriquez, Dept. of Agriculture
Maria Ynez - Inn of the 4 Winds
Fly Feletti
Dwight Chadwick
Monsieur Jacques Dufour
David Cota ...


Criminal Ace Connors agrees to return to New York and stand trial for stealing $500,000 worth of bonds so he can serve a light five-year sentence and enjoy his loot (safely stowed away in the cover of a cook book) when he gets out. Detective Bob Simms is tasked with escorting Connors back to New York. With five days for the cross-country trip, Connors plans for stops in Texas and New Orleans to have a few final days of fun before he goes to prison. Ricki Woodner, a con artist who met Connors at his hotel, is persuaded by Fly Feletti (a bitter colleague of Connors) to get close to Connors and take the bonds. She joins Connors and Simms on the train and Ricki and Ace start falling for each other. Feletti wants the bonds and keeps an eye on Ricki to make sure she doesn't double-cross him. After a romantic detour into Mexico, Ace, Ricki, and Simms head to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras celebration, with Feletti close behind. Written by Jimmy L.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Romance






Release Date:

4 June 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Algemas para Dois  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film was first telecast in Philadelphia Sunday 8 December 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), followed by New York City Saturday 28 December 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2), by San Francisco 9 March 1958 on KGO (Channel 7), and by Los Angeles 8 April 1958 on KTTV (Channel 11). See more »


Referenced in Forecast (1945) See more »


Dangerous (Peligrosa)
Written by Ralph Blane and George Bassman
See more »

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User Reviews

Lucille Ball in the lead, Karl Freund behind the camera, and directed by Dessin!
8 September 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Two Smart People (1946)

An odd, charming, crime romance with a series of great locales and a real sense of love triumphs over everything. You might expect this from MGM somehow--it lacks the intensity we think of with Warner Bros. crime flicks--but it has more warmth and aura that critics give it credit for. And when it gets to the crazy Mardi Gras scenes, it's really pretty fun.

The star here is Lucille Ball. Yes, the comic queen of the 1950s in a dramatic role, and she's convincing, despite the fact that she was unhappy to be in the film (she knew it was her last with MGM). Ball actually made a lot of films before television took her to the top, and she's always really good if never quite sizzling or memorable. She (and everyone) blames the weak script for her lackluster appearance here, but I thought the whole mood of the movie took on its own life and it worked well. The cinematography is led by legendary Karl Freund who later filmed 149 "I Love Lucy" episodes and who had already shot classic movies like "Metropolis," "Dracula," and would later do "Key Largo."

Across from Ball in the romantic male lead is John Hodiak, who tries to light up the screen but seems to be slightly trying, as if he knows the kind of charming con man he is meant to be and can't quite "become" it. Still, he's likable, and his chemistry with Ball isn't bad. A third lead has to be mentioned, Lloyd Nolan, because he's the laid back cop who is the most at ease in the film, and who is used to bounce the romance off of.

It's true, the script, both the dialog and plot, are routine stuff. But don't let that worry you. The ploy of the stolen bonds hidden in the book (seen in the first scene) is a little overdone as it goes (with a small twist in the final minutes), but it's really just a way to keep a slight suspense going. As the two leads fall for each other in the most impossible circumstance, there is the feeling that maybe the bonds are really the goal, and not true love. Great character actor Elisha Cook Jr. is creeping around in the background, waiting for the money to turn up.

Like many post-war films, the filming here is intensely moody, sharp, and filled with moving camera. It's a pleasure just to watch. Director Jules Dassin has several truly great films to his credit, and this one is usually brushed off as a failure of sorts, but I wouldn't do that. I enjoyed every minute. Even when there were cracks in the plot, I still wanted to be there, to go along for the ride. And that's good enough!

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