14 user 3 critic

Grand Slam (1933)

Passed | | Comedy | 18 March 1933 (USA)
Because the Stanislavsky method of playing bridge has no rules, it promotes marital harmony for those who stick with it.


William Dieterle, Alfred E. Green (uncredited)


Erwin Gelsey (screenplay), David Boehm (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Paul Lukas ... Peter Stanislavsky
Loretta Young ... Marcia Stanislavsky
Frank McHugh ... Philip 'Speed' McCann
Glenda Farrell ... Blondie
Helen Vinson ... Lola Starr
Roscoe Karns ... Contest Radio Announcer
Ferdinand Gottschalk ... Cedric Van Dorn


After waiter and would-be novelist Peter Stanislavsky marries Marcia, he learns to play bridge to satisfy his wife, despite feeling that it is a childish game. Her friends all play the game avidly, but argue often about the proper play. He's called one evening to serve as a waiter at a bridge party given by Lola Starr, but is asked to be a fourth for one of the bridge tables, where eminent bridge expert Cedric Van Dorn is seated. Peter trounces the expert, and when asked what method he uses to play, he jokingly says the "Stanislavsky method," which has no rules of bidding or play. It makes headlines; Speed McCann ghostwrites a best-selling book for him; a national tour is set up with Marcia as his partner; and his method sweeps the country. But slowly Peter begins to question Marcia's play, leading to arguments because it is a violation of the only rule in his system. And when he gives private lessons to Lola, Marcia leaves him thinking there is something between them. With his ... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Passed | See all certifications »





English | Russian

Release Date:

18 March 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Il giocatore See more »


Box Office


$164,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film uses the actual cover of the November 8, 1932 (no. 2572) edition of Life magazine. At the time, the publication was a humor magazine, like Punch in the UK, with limited circulation. See more »


In the newspaper article about Peter beating Van Dorn, the second paragraph of the story is unrelated gibberish. See more »


Cedric Van Dorn: You're just a faker, the world knows it.
Peter Stanislavsky: And what would you call yourself?
Cedric Van Dorn: Haven't you read my book?
Peter Stanislavsky: No, thanks. I have my own.
Cedric Van Dorn: Yours was written by Speed McCann.
Peter Stanislavsky: So was yours.
Cedric Van Dorn: But you were only a waiter.
Peter Stanislavsky: And you were only the Cherokee Indian that went around with the traveling medicine salesman.
Cedric Van Dorn: Yes sir. But, I ultimately became promoted to salesman.
Peter Stanislavsky: Well, if you ask me, being a bridge expert is a step down from being a fake Cherokee Indian.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits begin with bridge being played in the background. Then, close ups of cards are shown with a picture of one of the actor, his name, and the role he plays in the movie. See more »


Otchi Tchornya
Traditional Russian ballad
Played on the piano by Peter at the restaurant
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User Reviews

The satire on bridge playing fizzles, but enjoy the spoof on sports broadcasting.
25 January 1999 | by Art-22See all my reviews

This film breeches the fine line between satire and silliness. While a bridge system that has no rules may promote marital harmony, it certainly can't promote winning bridge, so the satire didn't work for me. But there were some items I found enjoyable anyway, especially with the big bridge match between Paul Lukas and Ferdinand Gottschalk near the end of the film. It is treated like very much like a championship boxing match. Not only is the arena for the contest roped off in a square area like a boxing ring, there is a referee hovering between the contestants, and radio broadcaster Roscoe Karns delivers nonstop chatter on the happenings. At one point he even enumerates "One... Two... Three... Four..." as though a bid of four diamonds was a knockdown event. And people were glued to their radios for it all, a common event for championship boxing matches. That spoof worked very well indeed.

Unfortunately, few of the actors provide the comedy needed to sustain the intended satire. Paul Lukas doesn't have much of a flair for comedy and is miscast; lovely Loretta Young and the usual comic Frank McHugh weren't given good enough lines; Glenda Farrell has a nice comic turn as a forgetful blonde at the start of the film, but she practically disappears thereafter. What a waste of talent!

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