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Men of Chance (1931)

Passed | | Drama | 8 January 1932 (USA)
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... See full summary »


George Archainbaud


Louis Weitzenkorn (by), Louis Stevens (adaptation) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Ricardo Cortez ... Johnny Silk
Mary Astor ... Marthe
John Halliday ... Dorval
Ralph Ince ... Farley
Kitty Kelly ... Gertie
James Donlan James Donlan ... Clark
George Davis ... The Frenchman


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 <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Passed | See all certifications »





English | French

Release Date:

8 January 1932 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


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 »


Marthe: I have to fight for every crust of bread I have to eat. Starvation isn't the most beautiful thing in life, you know.
Dorval: No, I suppose not.
Marthe: 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.
See more »


El Capitan
(1896) (uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played at the racetrack
See more »

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User Reviews

good Mary Astor film
30 June 2015 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

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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