9 user 2 critic

Two Dollar Bettor (1951)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 9 September 1951 (USA)
An honest bank employee gets hooked on horse racing, and starts to embezzle bank funds in an attempt to recoup his losses.


Edward L. Cahn


William Raynor (screenplay) (as Bill Raynor)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Brodie ... Rick Bowers - aka Rick Slate
Marie Windsor ... Mary Slate
John Litel ... John Hewitt
Barbara Logan Barbara Logan ... Nancy Hewitt
Robert Sherwood Robert Sherwood ... Phillip Adams
Barbara Bestar ... Diane 'Dee' Hewitt
Walter Kingsford ... Carleton P. Adams
Don Shelton Don Shelton ... George Irwin
Kay Lavelle Kay Lavelle ... Grandma Sarah Irwin (as Kay La Velle)
Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer ... Chuck Nordlinger (as Carl Switzer)
Isabel Randolph ... Margaret Adams
Ralph Reed Ralph Reed ... Teddy Cosgrove Phelps
Barbara Billingsley ... Miss Pierson (as Barbara Billinsley)
Ralph Hodges Ralph Hodges ... Chester Mitchell
Madelon Baker Madelon Baker ... Grace Shepard (as Madelon Mitchel)


Bank comptroller John Hewitt is a much-respected member of the community. One afternoon he is persuaded to make a small two-dollar bet at the racetrack and collects a couple of hundred dollars when his horse wins. Such a return-on-investment intrigues him and he begins to frequent the track and making larger bets. After a short period of winning, he hits a losing streak and his savings are soon wiped out. He then starts to take money from the bank and is soon thousands of stolen-dollars behind. Mary Slate, secretary of his bookmaker, advises him that the bookmaker has a sure thing, and if he will liberate $20,000 or so from the bank, he can get in on it and solve all his problems. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Don't Be A Sucker ! The true story of a nice guy "taken" - but good ! See more »








Release Date:

9 September 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beginner's Luck See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


John Hewitt: [to drunk bettor] Take a tip from a guy who knows - you can't beat the ponies.
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Written by Jeanne Logan
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User Reviews

An honest man is turned into a desperate and homicidal maniac due to compulsive gambling
21 January 2005 | by sol-kaySee all my reviews

**SPOILERS** Tragic story despite it's very contrived feel-good ending about a kind and caring man who never gambled in his life who gets caught up with the evils of uncontrolled and compulsive horse betting. This addiction leads him to embezzle the bank that he was employed at as the comptroller of some $16,000.00. Later he ends up killing two con artists in a gunfight that ended up with him getting fatally shot. It was the con artists who took advantage of his desperate situation and ripped him off of another $20,000.00 that he stole from the comptroller safe.

The story of John Hewitt, John Litel, is like that of many sick and degenerate gamblers who end up not only destroying themselves but their family and friends as well by trying to make a quick buck at the racetrack casino or with their bookie. Widowed with two sweet teenage daughters that he would do anything for John worked in charge of the credit department in the biggest bank in Langsford and was a very respected man and pillar of the community.

One afternoon John was invited by some of his friends to Langsford's Grandview Racetrack where for the first time in his life he made a bet at the urging of his brother-in-law George, Don Shelton and ended up winning some $200.00 betting on jockey Eddie Osborne. With John winning over $500.00 the next few days on his bets on horses rode by Osborne his luck changes when the jockey falls in a bad spill at the track. Betting other jockeys John ends up losing all his winnings as well as his life's saving and $14,000.00 of the banks money that he embezzled.

With John later being promoted to bank comptroller which will triple his salary his books were about to be audited and him possibly being indited for grand larceny for the $14,000.00 he stole from the comptroller safe. John then sees redemption of his criminal deed in the sports pages in that Eddie Osborne was back at the races and he was riding on the horse Great Day at the opening day feature, The Boyue Handicap,at the Bolraguard Racetrack in New Orleans.

With his bookie not taking a $2,000.00 bet on Great Day to win John flies down to New Orleans to bet the horse himself. It turns out that Great Day wins the race but is disqualified for impeding the placing horse, Conservasion, and put second with John losing all the money,$2,000.00, he bet on him.

Completely financially destroyed and possible facing prison there's still one more surprise thats awaiting John and it has to do with his bookies go-between Mary Slate, Marie Windson, and her boyfriend Rick, Steve Brodie. The two got the emotionally unstable John into a betting sting where he was induced to steal another $20,000.00 from his bank to put on a "sure thing" at the racetrack.

John gets the jump on both Mary and Rick when he calls the sport phone and finds out that the horse that he bet, Rickety Racks, was scratched from the race. When he called Rick's hotel room, to get the $20,000.00 back, he found out that he checked out and later that Mary also quit her job with John's bookie. Getting to Mary's apartment before she and Rick take off for Acapulco to get his $20,000.00 from the fleeing con artists there's a shoot-out with both Mary and Rick shot and killed and John fatally wounded. It's then that John drives,dying,to the house of his good friend and Langsford Bank president Charlston P. Adams,Robert Sherwood, and confesses the truth about what he did. Adams then promise's him that it would be a secret between both of them and that he'll tell the police that John was shot by a pair of crooks who robbed him of the bank money and with that the movie ends.

"Two Dollar Bettor" shows just how far the men, as well as women, who are hooked on gambling would go to not only win but break even for what they've lost at the racetrack.

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