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George Roy Hill
Max von Sydow,
Sorrowful Jones is a cheap bookie in 1930's. When a gambler leaves his daughter as a marker for a bet, he gets stuck with her. His life will change a great deal with her arrival and his sudden love for a woman also involved in gambling operations. Written by
Steve Richer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Little Miss Marker got its fourth and final film version with Walter Matthau as the screen's biggest grump since Ned Sparks perfectly cast as Sorrowful Jones. Curiously enough the third remake entitled 40 Pounds Of Trouble had Tony Curtis as the hero. Here he's the villain.
And even more curious Matthau and Curtis had worked together previously in Goodbye Charlie where Tony Curtis was top billed. Just the fickle fortune of the movie game.
The story is set back in the Depression Era and Andrew Rubin leaves his daughter Sara Stimson in lieu as a marker with bookie Matthau. Later on he drowns himself in the river and Matthau is stuck with her. But she proves invaluable to winning rich widow Julie Andrews. And she softens the heart of the old sourpuss as we've seen in many a film.
As for Curtis he's got a couple of deals with Matthau reluctantly going along. And when they go south Matthau has some decisions to make.
Matthau does well indeed stepping in the shoes of a role played by Adolphe Menjou, Bob Hope, and Tony Curtis. One would not think of Julie Andrews and Walter Matthau as a screen time, but as it turns out she compliments him beautifully. Curtis was now making the transition from leading man to character actor and he's very good.
Note also Brian Dennehy and Bob Newhart as aides to Curtis and Matthau. They act as seconds in a very silly duel on one of the New York piers. And Lee Grant is nicely cast as a judge in Family Court of the Depression at the end of the film.
Sara Stimson of course is no Shirley Temple, but none of the other little girls who succeeded her from the first version are either. It's the main weakness of this and the other two succeeding films. Still this one is worth a look.
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