When Joan Boothe accompanies husband-reporter David to Las Vegas, she begins gambling to pass the time while he is doing a story. Encouraged by the casino manager, she gets hooked on gambling, to the point where she "borrows" David's expense money to pursue her addiction. This finally breaks up their marriage, but David continues trying to help her. Written by
Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>
Hours before Howard Unruh went on a shooting rampage that eventually killed 13 people, he told police interrogators he planned his crime while watching the double feature "The Lady Gambles/"I Cheated the Law" three times in a Philadelphia theater. He claimed Barbara Stanwyck's character reminded him of one of his intended victims. The horrendous crime took place in Camden, N.J. 6 September 1949. See more »
Reflected in the bus window that Joan is on. See more »
Go to bed, Mrs. Boothe. If you have to have bad dreams, have them there. They do less damage.
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The first half of this depressing look at the addiction of gambling gave me the willies. The insidious descent of Stanwyck's character from placid, guilt-ridden housewife (who may have once had a career) into a card-playing, dice rolling junkie is too painful to watch. But I did.
The second half, especially the feeble attempt to recover, only to fall off the wagon, was predictable. Stanwyck is usually a powerhouse of an actress and would have been better served with a less smarmy ending. Still, the scenes of Vegas were enjoyable. I wouldn't hesitate to put this on a double bill with Reefer Madness. Through the windows of time, one cannot help to jump to the conclusion that they have some similarities. Other addiction movies, e.g. The Lost Weekend, warm the heart as well. There should be an addictions film festival. There probably is, right?
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