So You Want to Be a Gambler (1948)
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Follows a compulsive gambler on a roller-coaster ride of a day. From drug store pinball and slots to back room casino games and poker.
Reminiscent of the better educational short films on vices we were shown in grade school and high school, but much better.
Very well done and acted.
Worth watching just for the psychic roulette number picking parrot.
Cheesy, but in a very GOOD way.
Check it out if you can.
Currently available on TCM on demand through Comcast.
IT IS ALSO a number one day in some other categories; namely in Pizza consumption as well as the biggest day for your friendly neighborhood "Turf Agent" (aks Bookie) and his legion of local followers. Perhaps we're being just a trifle too harsh in declaring this to be the biggest day for bettors without any true statistics to back us up; but one can be reasonably certain that this view is not at all far from the mark.
AS WE JOIN up with friend Joe, we find that he is broke and plotting as to how he'll be able to establish a new grubstake so he may continue partaking in his favourite earthly activity, gambling-on any and everything. His replenished supply of cold ca$h comes his way by his parlaying an ill gotten nickel from a newsboy into $50.00 via luck at a pinball machine. (and we do mean LUCK!)
ONCE RESTOCKED WITH this modest reserve, the production team takes used through the multi-faceted styles of gaming that one might encounter and we certainly have seen. Blackjack, Craps, Poker and the Roulette Wheel are all given the close, comical treatment and scrutiny.
AS IS THE case in any true-life field of endeavor, Joe meets up with -bystanders, busy bodies and touts; all of whom automatically "know" so much more about all of the "sure things." The fact that no Casino or Poker Club need rig any of their games in any way is emphasized, as the Odds ere always with the establishment anyway. If one were to persist, he'd surely be broke in a relatively short time.
THEY WIND UP the story with what is both a sort of morale as well as a visual pun and sight gag about "One Armed Bandits."
AS USUAL THE short is graced by some of the usual company of actors who are highly visible throughout the series. But today, Fred Lelsey, Leo White, Neil Young and all are joined by versatile general purpose actor, the very talented Douglas Fowley; who does a great impression of a tough poker player & game proprietor.
George O'Hanlon as McDoakes is down to the burlap, not a nickel to his name. But he cons a poor newspaper delivery kid and deposits said nickel in a pinball machine and hits a $50.00 jackpot.
So what does O'Hanlon do? He heads out to the nearest gambling establishment and what happens to him, happens to too many people. I won't go into the situations, but they are whimsically humorous.
We watch this and laugh and it's funny, but how does someone with a real gambling problem look at this short subject? It's like an alcoholic seeing a funny drunk act when his life is told for real in a film like The Lost Weekend.
Food for thought. The last and final gag is laced with irony.
In this one, for once Joe seems to be doing well. While he usually loses while gambling, this time he manages to accidentally win $50. Naturally being a chronic gambler and idiot, he manages to lose this...and then some--all thanks to his 'good friend' Homer and his own inability to stop when he's ahead.
Overall, a fairly typical McDoakes film--cute and worth seeing. Oh, and by the way, get a load of the three-handed man as well as those Mexican jumping dice and that crazy parrot!!
*** (out of 4)
Joe McDoakes (George O'Hanlon) short has the dimwitted guy trying his hand at gambling, which leads him to profit $12,000 but of course he can't walk away a winner. This here is one of the better films in the series as we get a better than average story that has plenty of laughs along the way. The story of the down on his luck gambler on his roller coaster day is nicely directed by Bare and the screenplay has a couple nice twists that make for some good laughs. The highlight are the scenes where Joe gets a psychic parrot calling off numbers for him. The early scenes at the pinball table are nicely done and the final gag works well too.