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The Las Vegas Story (1952)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 496 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 5 critic

The Las Vegas visit of singer Linda Rollins and her shady businessman husband leads to murder, and the cop on the case is Linda's old flame.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Linda Rollins
...
Lt. Dave Andrews
...
Lloyd Rollins
...
Happy
...
Tom Hubler
Gordon Oliver ...
Mr. Drucker
...
Capt. H.A. Harris
...
Mike Fogarty
Bill Welsh ...
Mr. Martin
Ray Montgomery ...
Desk Clerk
...
Mary
...
Clayton (as Robert Wilke)
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Storyline

Investment broker Lloyd Rollins, insisting to his wife Linda that they stop at Las Vegas on their trip from Boston, begins to gamble heavily. Linda visits the Last Chance, a casino where she used to sing, and where she meets police lieutenant Dave Andrews, with whom she had a brief affair some years earlier. Insurance investigator Tom Hubler soon arrives to keep an eye on Linda's valuable necklace for his company, unaware that Rollins hocked the necklace with Clayton, owner of the Last Chance. Lt. Andrews, rebuffed by Linda, learns that Clayton has been murdered. He deduces the killer's identity and begins a deadly chase when he learns the killer has taken Linda hostage and fled into the desert. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 January 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Spielhölle von Las Vegas  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The night before the Las Vegas premier of "The Las Vegas Story," Jane and her husband, Robert Waterfield, got into a fight in which he slugged her in the face several times. The next morning, Jane's face was swollen and black and blue. RKO executives didn't want to cancel the premier and Jane appeared at the festivities with a severely swollen and bruised face. A story was given to the press that the intense windstorm the night before slammed an open car door into her face. Despite the believable story, a Newsweek magazine blurb hinted at the actual truth. See more »

Quotes

Mary: I guess it would be only fair if you were to kiss Bill.
Linda Rollins: If I kissed Bill there wouldn't be anything fair about it.
See more »

Soundtracks

I Get Along Without You Very Well
Written by Hoagy Carmichael
Performed by Jane Russell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Jane Russell's glamour raises it above the mundane
30 March 2012 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

The title "The Las Vegas Story" might suggest a film recounting the city's history, possibly centred upon the early days of the gaming industry under Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky. It is not, however, a movie of that sort, any more than "The Philadelphia Story" deals with the early days of colonial Pennsylvania. It is sometimes classed as a "film noir", although to my mind that term is sometimes overused to describe virtually any crime drama made between 1930 and 1960. Certainly, "The Las Vegas Story" lacks some of the characteristics of classic noir, such as low-key lighting and a sense of moral ambivalence.

A wealthy stockbroker named Lloyd Rollins arrives in Las Vegas to play the tables. Accompanying him is his beautiful, and much younger, wife Linda who used to work as a singer in one of the city's casinos. Linda meets her former boyfriend Dave Andrews, whom she knew before her marriage and who is now working as a local police officer. I won't recount the plot in any more detail as it gets very complicated- something to do with a valuable diamond necklace, an insurance fraud, a suspicious investigator and the murder of a casino owner.

In many ways this is a fairly standard early fifties crime drama with little in terms of its plot that would make it stand out from dozens of others. There are, however, a few features which make the film (just about) worth seeing even today. There is a very good suspense sequence when Dave pursues the villain into the Nevada desert, involving a chase between a helicopter and a car and a cliffhanger in an abandoned military base. Like another viewer, I was reminded by this sequence of the work of Alfred Hitchcock, and wondered if it could have served as an inspiration for the famous "crop-duster" scene in "North by North-West".

The leading man, Victor Mature as Dave, gives a rather static, wooden performance; he tended to be better in historical dramas in which his impressive physique and screen presence made him stand out. Vincent Price, however, is better as Lloyd, a smoothly plausible rogue with a few skeletons in his cupboard, and there is an entertaining cameo from Hoagy Carmichael, better known as a songwriter and musician, as Happy, the eccentric pianist in the casino bar. (The name Happy is presumably an ironic nickname, as he has a permanently mournful expression on his face).

The best thing about the film, however, is the presence of the lovely Jane Russell. Jane's time at the top was a relatively short one, which is not surprising given that she was that rare breed, a thirty-something sex symbol. She only made three films while in her twenties, but another sixteen between the ages of 30 and 36, following which she retired from the screen, although she did make occasional comebacks. In the fifties a forty-something sex symbol was evidently regarded as a contradiction in terms, although Joan Collins was to reinvent herself as precisely that in the seventies. (There is an interesting comparison between Jane and her contemporary Veronica Lake; Lake's career was effectively over by 1949, whereas Russell's did really not take off until 1951, even though she was actually the older of the two by eighteen months).

Jane was perhaps not the most technically brilliant actress in Hollywood, but she had a compelling screen presence, and although she may not have made any great films, she made some very watchable and entertaining ones. She also had a very good singing voice, which she puts to good use in this movie, singing among other things the well-known hit "My Resistance Is Low". (Following her temporary retirement from the cinema in 1957, she was to reinvent herself as a Las Vegas nightclub singer, like her character Linda). It is her glamour- by which I mean her charisma and presence as well as her physical attractiveness- which is responsible for raising "The Las Vegas Story" above the level of the mundane. 6/10


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