Monday, April 15, 2013

The Gambler and the Lady (1952)

Directors: Patrick Jenkins & Terence Fisher

Starring: Dane Clark, Kathleen Byron, Naomi Chance, Meredith Edwards, Anthony Forwood, Eric Pohimann

More info: IMDb

Tagline: You've got a double date with danger!

Plot: A social-climbing American with a business in illegal gambling falls in love with a British blue blood, but gangsters and a jealous ex-girlfriend stand in the way of happiness.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

This flick is part of a set of Hammer Noir pictures that I've been meaning to get to for a while.  Now that I'm doing it I hope there are some gems in there somewhere.  This one's not bad but it's hindered by the American lead, Dane Clark.  We find out halfway in that he's London's leader of organized gambling (and maybe even more than that though we don't know about it).  The thing is, he doesn't look and always act like it.  I guess what I'm trying to say he was rarely imposing or overly dangerous.  For a guy in his position he seems to be rather tame to be tops in the underground gambling racket.  The British cast all do a fine job, so good that it makes it even tougher for Clark to take control as an actor.  He's not bad but it seems like everyone else is just a little better and it shows.  He's also 5'9" and he seems short which hurts his ability to be imposing.  Joe Pesci is 5'4" but he can be a ferocious beast on screen.  I'm the same height as Clark and it makes me feel even smaller noticing it.

Bland, James Bland

Story-wise, it's pretty good even though it feels like a smaller picture than it could've been.  I'm going to assume that the budget set that limitation.  I would've like to have seen something that showed you how big Jim Foster's (Clark) really was instead of seeing a small room with gambling tables.  The ending is potentially tragic as it's not clear what happens to Jim but what his ex-girlfriend, Pat (Byron) does is kick ass cool and downright mean.  I guess for what it is it's pretty good but just barely on the other side of not good enough for me to watch again, especially considering there are hundreds more noir pictures I've yet to see.

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