A young writer goes to Wiesbaden to write about gambling and gamblers, only to ultimately become a compulsive gambler himself. Losing all his wealth, as well as his moral fibre, he commits ...
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John G. Adolfi
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A young writer goes to Wiesbaden to write about gambling and gamblers, only to ultimately become a compulsive gambler himself. Losing all his wealth, as well as his moral fibre, he commits the ultimate degradation of robbing a church poor box in order to feed his compulsion.Written by
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On numerous occasions during the long Roulette game when the "No more bets" call is made, the wheel is shown to be turning pretty slowly; yet immediately afterwards as the ball is getting ready to drop into the slot, the wheel is suddenly turning much more rapidly. See more »
As Kirk Douglas's career was progressing nicely he had a choice of two different offers. He could play the title role in The Great Sinner, a big MGM film with a supporting cast of name players with Ava Gardner as a leading lady. Or he could do a small independent film for Stanley Kramer who was just starting out. Douglas chose the small film and wound up with an Oscar nomination for Champion.
Which left Gregory Peck who was apparently a second choice to play the Russian writer who stops off at the gambling resort of Wiesbaden in the 1860s just before German unification. He's on his way to Paris, but one sight of Ava Gardner getting off at Wiesbaden, makes Peck decide to abruptly change his plans.
As for Ava, certainly one can understand that she's beautiful enough to let one's hormones take over, but I got the feeling Ava just wasn't into the part really, as Greg was also not. It's also hard to believe that Walter Huston had won an Oscar for his previous film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. To overcome a trite story, Huston overacts outrageously, pulling everything out of a ham's bag of tricks.
Even Melvyn Douglas as the scheming casino owner takes his nineteenth century villainy from the Snidely Whiplash tradition. Agnes Moorehead as the old crone of a pawnbroker also indulges in some scenery chewing, her best example of that since Dark Passage.
Best in the film in my humble opinion is Frank Morgan as the former mathematics professor and now addicted gambler. He brings a real aura of tragedy to his small role.
The Great Sinner is a sluggishly paced film with a lot of very talented people just going through the motions. For a gambling story, I'll take Casino.
Don't believe me, Wanna bet?
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