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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>
In this B-picture that shows a woman's discovery of gambling, Barbara Stanwyck shines in the leading role. Released the same year as Gregory Peck's gambling movie The Great Sinner, this is the female version of the dangers of gambling. Robert Preston costars as the long-suffering husband, and Stephen McNally is a very realistic villain who entices Barbara to start trying her luck. If you keep your eyes peeled, you can catch a very young Tony Curtis in his third film appearance! He plays a bellboy and is onscreen for less than ten seconds, but he has an interaction with the legendary Barbara Stanwyck; not bad!
The opening scene is incredibly engaging and shocking. Barbara walks out into an alley, then gets beaten by a group of thugs and left for dead. Next, Robert Preston runs into a hospital, demanding to know how his wife is. He tells the doctor in charge, and the audience, the story of how she ended up this way. While the storytelling method is a little cheesy, Barbara's performance more than makes up for it. She's fantastic, and completely in her element as she's given the opportunity to show off every human emotion throughout the film. She's innocently curious as she tags along on her husband's business trip to Las Vegas, and her slow descent into addiction is riveting. She's deceitful, ashamed, devious, desperate, and completely unable to stop. Her eyes light up when she wins, and she feels like her life's over when she loses. If you've never seen a Barbara Stanwyck movie, this is a great place to start.
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