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The Lady Gambles (1949)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 8 July 1949 (Mexico)
A desperate husband tries to find help for his wife suffering from addictive gambling.


Michael Gordon


Roy Huggins (screenplay), Halsted Welles (adaptation) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Joan Boothe
Robert Preston ... David Boothe
Stephen McNally ... Horace Corrigan
Edith Barrett ... Ruth Phillips
John Hoyt ... Dr. Rojac
Elliott Sullivan Elliott Sullivan ... Barky
John Harmon ... Frenchy
Philip Van Zandt ... Chuck (as Phil Van Zandt)
Leif Erickson ... Tony
Curt Conway ... Bank Clerk
Houseley Stevenson ... Pawnbroker
Don Beddoe ... Mr. Dennis Sutherland
Nana Bryant ... Mrs. Dennis Sutherland
Tony Curtis ... Bellboy (as Anthony Curtis)
Peter Leeds Peter Leeds ... Jack Harrison - Hotel Clerk (as Peter Lewis)


When Joan Boothe accompanies husband-reporter David to Las Vegas, she begins gambling to pass the time while he is doing a story. Encouraged by the casino manager, she gets hooked on gambling, to the point where she "borrows" David's expense money to pursue her addiction. This finally breaks up their marriage, but David continues trying to help her. Written by Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Once she was someone's wife ... now she's just someone's luck ! See more »


Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The scene where Corrigan (Steven McNally) tells the girls "No-one uses my first name....because it's Horace" could well have been an in-joke as Stephen McNally's birth name was Horace Vincent McNally. See more »


Reflected in the bus window that Joan is on. See more »


David Boothe: What's it all about, Joan? What are you doing here?
See more »

User Reviews

A Hidden Masterpiece!
17 March 2012 | by kalendjaySee all my reviews

Despite some of the reviews here that characterize TLG as trite and dated, I only thought this film was a directorial surprise, way ahead of its time for 1949.

First you start with a flashback by Preston's character that isn't quite a flashback, because we are more interested in who this man is and what the circumstances of his plight are, than the past per se. Virtually all Hollywood flashbacks seem to involve some grand police confession or some need to explain the confessor (such as "D.O.A.")but the flashback here seems to add to the convolutedness of the characters, and the surrealism of the situation. Does Preston really understand his wife? If so when? The flashback reminds us that there is more to explain than the "what",but also the "why" which neither Preston nor the audience yet understand (gambling is a disease, but the matter of guilt and personal responsibility for misdeeds remain open).

More convolutedness in the photography. Carefully cropped chest-up body shots, with swirling camera movements amid authentic but claustrophobic interiors. Remember, only Max Ophuls was supposed to have done this sort of thing at the time! I remember "Leaving Las Vegas" attempted the same themes in slightly different ways (misery and anomie in a spectacular setting) but that was a miserable film.

Finally you have a not so sweet resolution to depict insanity, but in a much subtler way than "The Snake Pit" and other entries in the growing body of 'social consciousness' films. Stanwyck was a tough-soft actress, and the scenes where she rolls before a throng a gamblers rarely came tougher in her films. A work to just watch.

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Release Date:

8 July 1949 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Gambling Lady See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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