Hoping to get even with gambler/bookie Johnny Silk, racetrack owners and partners Dorval and Farley convince down-and-out Martha Preston to pose as a rich, single French countess, whom Silk...
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Hoping to get even with gambler/bookie Johnny Silk, racetrack owners and partners Dorval and Farley convince down-and-out Martha Preston to pose as a rich, single French countess, whom Silk falls in love with and asks to marry. After the marriage Martha, who has genuinely fallen in love with Silk, innocently feeds his inside betting information to Dorval, causing Silk to lose a fortune. When she realizes what she's done, she confesses all to her husband, who becomes enraged and orders her out of his life. Faced with poverty, she teams up once again with Dorval as he asks her to betray Silk one last time.Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The 5,000 franc bet Johnny makes about what drink will be ordered next would equate to about $200 at the time, or about $3,500 in 2016. See more »
Martha hears music being played out on the street and goes to the window and looks down. She then throws a coin down to them. The violinist goes to pick up the coin from the sidewalk. However, the coin was already there in the first shot, before Martha throws it. See more »
I have to fight for every crust of bread I have to eat. Starvation isn't the most beautiful thing in life, you know.
No, I suppose not.
Every day for the past three years, that's all I've known. Fight. Fight for food and fight against men. Their plans and their schemes for luxury.
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Ricardo Cortez and Mary Astor star in "Men of Chance" from 1931, also starring John Halliday.
Astor plays Marthe, a literal starving artist in Paris who is picked up by Dorval (John Halliday). He makes her an offer she can't refuse in her present situation: he will dress her, put her up in the best hotel, and introduce her around as a French countess. She attracts a wealthy man, rich American gambler Johnny Silk (Cortez), who proposes to her. At first she's interested in him for his money, but later, she falls in love with him.
Dorval and his partner Farley are actually after Johnny and want to bring him down. Without realizing it, Marthe is feeding racing tips to them, and they're winning and depleting Silk's fortune.
Good, straightforward film, with a nice horse race sequence at the end. The lovely Astor gave a winning performance as poor Marthe, the regal Countess, and finally a woman in love. She was an interesting actress - an ingénue in the silent era, a leading lady with a beautiful speaking voice in the '30s, and made her big mark as the mysterious, treacherous Bridget O'Shaunessey in The Maltese Falcon in 1941. By the mid-40s, she was doing character roles, which she did until 1964, a 43-year-career.
Ricardo Cortez to me has never been anything but okay, though he was pleasant looking. He entered silents during the Valentino era and promptly changed his name from Jacob Krantz. There was just nothing special about him or the films in which he appeared. He slid to B films and then character parts and finally returned to working on Wall Street though he kept acting until 1960.
John Halliday is appropriately evil and slimy.
If you catch this on TCM, see it, you'll like it. Even though it's precode, though, the only racy thing is the horses.
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