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|Index||11 reviews in total|
"Lucky Losers" is too straight-forward to be a memorable Bowery Boys
picture, though it does contain a good supporting cast. It's just not
wacky enough and it lacks memorable set pieces. The scenes with Louis
posing as a rich gambling fool, for example, fall flat. Still, it
manages to be quite amusing and the Gorcey-Hall chemistry is as
incomparable as ever.
Hillary Brooke is one of the glories of B cinema (although, regrettably, she doesn't have much to do here). Dick Elliott, who plays the drunken conventioneer, would turn up as Mike Clancy in a couple entries at the tail end of the series.
Inspired by television commentator pal Gabriel Dell (as Gabe Moreno)'s
investigative reports, Leo Gorcey (as Terence Aloysius "Slip" Mahoney)
and Huntz Hall (as Horace Debussy "Sach" Jones) go undercover as Las
Vegas-styled gambling card and dice dealers. Joining the crime-solving
duo at New York's swanky "High Hat Club" are fellow "Bowery Boys"
William "Billy" Benedict (as Whitey), Buddy Gorman (as Butch), and
David Gorcey (as Chuck). Fatherly "Sweet Shop" owner Bernard Gorcey (as
"Arizona" Louie) poses as a high-stakes gambler.
Quick, well-paced, and familiar Bowery shenanigans, with the regular cast in fine, comfortable form. Their guest-starring gang of adversaries - veteran Lyle Talbot (as Bruce McDermott), classy Hillary Brooke (as Countess Margo), and attractive Joseph Turkel (as Johnny Angelo) - are especially appealing. And, Harry Tyler (as Wellington Jefferson "Buffer" McGee) makes a noteworthy impression as the hawkish street vendor who teaches Gorcey and the gang how crooked casino owners work the tables to cheat their gambling customers out of hard-earned cash.
****** Lucky Losers (5/14/50) William Beaudine ~ Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell, Hillary Brooke
Slip Mahoney (Leo Gorcey) and Sach (Huntz Hall) are working as runners
for a New York brokerage firm owned by David J. Thurston (Selmer
Jackson, and the name is Thurston as in Thurston.) Carol Thurston
(Wendy Waldron, and the name is Thurston as in Thurston, no matter what
Selmer Jackson's handwriting looked like) is romantically involved with
Gabe Moreno (Gabriel Dell), a crusading television producer.
David Thurston is found dead and the coroner's ruling is suicide. Slip isn't buying that, snoops around Thurston's office, and discovers a matchbox and pair of dice carrying the insignia, "The High Hat Club." Slip engages a spiel artist,Wellington J. "Buffer" McGee (Harry Tyler), to teach him, Sach and their friends, Butch (Buddy Gorman), Chuck (David Gorcey)and Whitey (Billy Benedict)how to beat all games of chance.
Slip, posing as "Slippery" Mahoney, and Sach as Sacramento Sach obtain jobs at the dice table of "The High Hat Club,", operated by Bruce McDermott (Lyle Talbot) and "Countess" Margo (Hillary Brooke), and they bring in their friends to operate the card tables. Moreno, aided by information supplied by Mahoney, launches a campaign against McDermott, and has City Councilman John Martin (Harry V, Cheshire)aid him in his fight.
Slip discovers a canceled check for $120,000, signed by Thurston, in McDermott's desk. A young millionaire, Andrew Stone, III (Glenn Vernon), is killed in a brawl with McDermott, but the latter is exonerated after making a mysterious call to to a higher-up in the racket. Slip and the Boys, with the aid of assistant District Attorney Tom Whitney (Douglas Evans), discover the higher-up is the man any viewer has already pegged as the higher-up, simply on the basis that the Gabe Moreno character is never as smart as he pretends to be in this series.
Made with the usual mixture of melodrama and comedy this series had under producer Jan Grippo, who stayed with the formula Sam Katzman used before the East Side Kids became the Bowery Boys and, as such, is better than the straight buffoon, slap-stick entries later produced by Ben Schwab.
Lucky Losers has our set of overage delinquents from the Bowery
investigating some illegal gambling after a prominent Wall Street
broker commits 'suicide'. Selmar Jackson had gotten Leo Gorcey and
Huntz Hall jobs on Wall Street and the boys take his demise quite
Their investigation leads them to a gambling club, illegal of course, that's operated by Lyle Talbot and his mostly fetching moll Hillary Brooke. In order to crash that world they get a course in how to be a crooked gambler and what to watch out for by small time grifter Harry Tyler. The scenes with Tyler are the best in the film.
This is a pretty good entry in The Bowery Boys series, a must for fans of the eternal delinquents.
The gambling blood in me really appreciated the gambling scenes in this
movie, as Harry Tyler, a gambling expert, teaches the boys the art of
cheating in cards and dice. We are treated to some fancy legerdemain
actually done by producer Jan Grippo in a hand cameo - what a checkered life
he must have led! All five boys (Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, David Gorcey,
William Benedict and Buddy Gorman) go undercover as workers in a gambling
casino to try to unravel the details of Selmer Jackson's apparent suicide.
It's all a lot of fun. I enjoyed the scene where Benedict purposely deals
two losing unbilled dowagers blackjacks after urging them to bet the rest of
their money. (The writers must have seen Casablanca.)
Our forgetful writers department: Selmer Jackson's character name is apparently "David J. Thurston," since it is engraved in the stone facing of his building. But when he signs a letter, it is "David J. Thurstinn."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You have to give these dumb Dead End Kids, East Side Kids, Bowery Boys
some credit. In their 20+ years together from stage to middle age, they
covered practically every plot territory known to movie mankind. In
every one of these genres, they managed to come out on top over some of
the most calculating villains and crooks films have ever seen, beating
bandits in spoofs of westerns, supernatural villains in horror comedy,
and even all sorts of New York City mobsters. Every sub-type of big
city crook came along with confidence men, racketeers and even the big
bosses. Here, the focus is on an illegal gambling establishment where
the boys help pal Gabriel Dell track down who either murdered Dell's
Wall Street boss or forced him into committing suicide. With the help
of a gambling expert, Slip, Sach and the gang learn tricks of the
trade, get jobs in the gambling joint and utilize old pal Louis
(Bernard Gorcey) to pose as a rootin' tootin' veteran gambler from
Arizona to help expose this mob.
While entertaining and fast-moving, this one crosses the line from the ridiculous to the absurd. Gabriel Dell's character goes from Wall Street errand boy to television commentator, on a mission to expose the racket which killed his boss, while Sach and Slip are so dumb here that their attempts to pretend to be veteran dice rollers just comes off as absurd. Lyle Talbot is perfectly cast as the head of the gambling joint with sexy Hillary Brooke ("Blonde Ice") as his moll. Bernard Gorcey looks silly in his cowboy get-up, sort of like a scrunched up James Cagney from "The Oklahoma Kid". Billy Benedict has a nice scene where he aids two old ladies sitting at his table from loosing their life savings. The funny final scene shows the boys for who they truly are, going from heroes to cowards with the presence of an inanimate prop that truly brings them to their knees.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(Some Spoilers) Wall Street messenger boys Slip & Sach together with
the rest of the Bowery Boys get themselves involved with a den of
thieves at the swanky and members only High Hat club after their boss
David Thurston was reported to have committed suicide in his Wall
Street office. Finding a number of items, a book of matches and pair
dice, in Thuston's office with the High Hat club logo it becomes
apparent that it, the club, had something to do with Thurston's death.
Trained by street wise card shark and dice shooter Buffer McGee on the in the ins an outs of cheating with a deck of cards and on the crap table Slip & Sach get themselves a job as dealers for the High Hat club by it's crooked owner Bruce McDermott. As the boys start to get all the dirt they can on McDermott and the sleazy racket he's running they relay that information to their good friend Gabe Moreno a reporter who has a hard hitting political expose TV news program. It's Gabe together with the crusading and man of the people city council president John Martin who are out to put an end to McDermott and his mob who specialize in cheating, with loader dice and marked cards, big time rollers out of their cash when they come to roll the dice and flip the cards at the High Hat Club. As it turned out one of these big time roller was non other then David Thurston himself! It was Thurston who was about to blow the lid on McDermott's operation when he mysterious ended up killing himself. Or was he in fact murdered by McDermott's thugs in order to keep him quite!
***SPOILERS*** As McDermott starts getting a bit suspicious of Slip & Sach in them letting their friend sweet shop owner Louie Dumbrowski, masquerading around as Arizona cattleman "Arizona Louie", win big on the crap table McDermott and his boys, that includes dragon lady Countess Margo, get the lowdown from an inside source that Gabe is about to finger, on his TV show, who's the real power behind McDermott's illegal gambling operation! That leads Gabe to get worked over by McDermott's Mob and put into traction at the local hospital! In the end it's the Countess who, like everyone watching the movie want's to do to her, gets herself squeezed into rating out Mr. Big by being threatened by D.A Tom Whitney into spilling the beans on him in order to get a lighter sentence!
P.S Look for veteran character, and sometime leading, actor Lyle Talbot as the High Hat night club owner Bruce McDermott. Talbot was later to become immortalized in such bad movies classics like "Glen or Glenda" and "Jail Bait" directed by what most movie goers consider to be greatest bad movie director of all times Ed Wood Jr.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are a lot of expressions I picked up as a kid, some still in use
today, that I never considered where they originated. Thanks to "Lucky
Losers", I now know that a 'dollar three eighty' dates back at least to
1950, used here by Gabe Marino (Gabriel Dell) in an early scene. Said
quickly, as in how much is that? - a dollar three eighty - it almost
About as much sense as a Bowery Boys movie anyway. This one pits the gang against a back room casino operator with protection from a member of the City Council. The High Hat Club is owned by Bruce McDermott (Lyle Talbot) with able assists from Countess Margo (Hillary Brooke) and Johnny Angelo (Joe Turkel). For their part, Slip (Leo Gorcey) and Sach (Huntz Hall) utilize the services of former card sharp and scam artist Buffer McGee (Harry Tyler), who teaches them the methods to watch for as they go undercover to expose the High Hat operation. Fancy hand work with a deck of cards is a nice touch as far as visuals go, and a couple of the boys did a nice job showing their stuff.
As he often did, Bernard Gorcey takes on a persona to help pull the boys out of a jam when things get tough. Here he's Arizona Louie, working the dice table to keep the bad guys distracted. Louie had a great expression when a couple of McDermott's hoods came over to relieve Slip and Sach as croupiers. He called them 'Paskudniaks'! My spelling is probably suspect, but the expression, translated from Polish is meant to convey a couple of nasty guys. It can also be used to describe something dirty, as in 'paskudny' - so all in all, the expression was used perfectly here, and was just too hysterical to hear.
Like they always do, the Boys eventually prevail in pretty quick order. Notwithstanding the off camera working over the bad guys give Gabe, it's a fairly standard formula for the Bowery Boys. Hate seeing Hillary Brooke as a villainess though, somehow seeing her as a moll tends to misconstrue the connotation.
"It's one of his idiot syncracies".
Another run-of-the-mill entry as the kids (and with their receding hairlines I use that term every so loosely!) learn to be expert croupiers in order to uncover some shady goings on at a high class gambling club.
LUCKY LOSERS is an uneven mixture of comedy and some occasional dramatic turns (as are a good many of these 'comedies'), but ultimately emerges as average Bowery Boys fare.
One impressive sequence involves a montage of the boys' training in the art of card tricks and slight of hand (not performed by the actors themselves, obviously).
Saw "Lucky Losers" when I was 7 years old. It was the first time I had ever seen a Bowery Boys movie. My main memory of it is that I laughed harder while watching it than any other movie before or since. It made me an instant Bowery Boys fan. Saw it again (on TV) a few months ago. Doesn't seem nearly as funny now, but still a solid Bowery Boys entry.
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