Gambling House (1951)

79-80 mins | Drama | 20 January 1951

Director:

Ted Tetzlaff

Producer:

Warren Duff

Cinematographer:

Harry Wild

Editor:

Roland Gross

Production Designers:

Albert D'Agostino, Alfred Herman

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Alias Mike Fury , Alias Marc Fury , Walk Softly, Stranger and Mr. Whiskers . Walk Softly, Stranger was also the release title of an unrelated 1950 RKO picture. The passage quoted in the film comes from the last paragraph of the Thomas Wolfe poem "The Promise of America," published in his book You Can't Go Home Again (New York, 1940): "So, then, to every man his chance/to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining golden opportunity/to every man the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him/this, seeker, is the promise of America."
       According to documents in the RKO Production Files at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the studio acquired Erwin Gelsey's unpublished short story in the early 1940s. Over the ensuing years, a number of writers worked on drafts of the screenplay, including Samuel Fuller. According to a HR news item, Twentieth Century-Fox temporarily suspended Victor Mature when Mature failed to report for work on Gambling House , claiming the role was "not suitable for him." RKO borrowed Mature from Twentieth Century-Fox for the production, Terry Moore from Columbia Pictures and William Bendix from Hal Roach Studios. Leonidas Ossetynski, who plays "Mr. Sobieski" in the picture, was a former Polish prince and stage actor, and Loda Halama, who plays "Mrs. Sobieski," was a former star of the Warsaw Ballet, according to a HR news item. Some modern sources refer to this film as a remake of the ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Alias Mike Fury , Alias Marc Fury , Walk Softly, Stranger and Mr. Whiskers . Walk Softly, Stranger was also the release title of an unrelated 1950 RKO picture. The passage quoted in the film comes from the last paragraph of the Thomas Wolfe poem "The Promise of America," published in his book You Can't Go Home Again (New York, 1940): "So, then, to every man his chance/to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining golden opportunity/to every man the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him/this, seeker, is the promise of America."
       According to documents in the RKO Production Files at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the studio acquired Erwin Gelsey's unpublished short story in the early 1940s. Over the ensuing years, a number of writers worked on drafts of the screenplay, including Samuel Fuller. According to a HR news item, Twentieth Century-Fox temporarily suspended Victor Mature when Mature failed to report for work on Gambling House , claiming the role was "not suitable for him." RKO borrowed Mature from Twentieth Century-Fox for the production, Terry Moore from Columbia Pictures and William Bendix from Hal Roach Studios. Leonidas Ossetynski, who plays "Mr. Sobieski" in the picture, was a former Polish prince and stage actor, and Loda Halama, who plays "Mrs. Sobieski," was a former star of the Warsaw Ballet, according to a HR news item. Some modern sources refer to this film as a remake of the 1943 RKO release Mr. Lucky , but the two pictures, though similarly themed, are not related. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
30 Dec 1950.
---
Daily Variety
22 Dec 50
p. 3.
Film Daily
27 Dec 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Feb 50
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Feb 50
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 50
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 50
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Dec 50
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
19 Jul 1949.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
30 Dec 50
p. 641.
New York Times
19 Mar 51
p. 23.
Variety
27 Dec 50
5p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir of addl scenes and retakes
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Based on a story by
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog of addl scenes and retakes
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus
Mus dir
SOUND
Sd for addl scenes and retakes
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
STAND INS
Stand-in for Victor Mature
Stand-in for Terry Moore
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Alias Marc Fury
Alias Mike Fury
Mr. Whiskers
Walk Softly, Stranger
Release Date:
20 January 1951
Production Date:
3 February--13 March 1950
retakes and addl scenes: 8 May--13 May 1950
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
18 January 1951
Copyright Number:
LP734
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
79-80
Length(in feet):
7,213
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14420
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Having been shot and wounded by racketeer Joe Farrow during a crooked craps game, New York gambler Marc Fury is questioned by homicide detectives investigating the death of another player, who was murdered during the same confrontation. Marc's wound makes him a suspect, and although he knows that Farrow shot him in order to frame him, he reluctantly accepts Farrow's offer to stand trial for the murder in exchange for $50,000. During the trial, Marc, who is pleading self-defense, demands his money from Farrow. When Farrow instead writes him an I.O.U., Marc grabs the racketeers' numbers book and threatens to turn it over to the police if Farrow reneges on their deal. Helped by Farrow's false testimony, Marc is then acquitted, but is immediately arrested by federal authorities and taken to the Office of Immigration and Naturalization. Before being questioned, Marc slips Farrow's book into the pocket of a passing woman. Marc, whose real name is Marcus Furioni, then is informed that he is not a United States citizen, as his Italian parents never filed naturalization papers, and now faces deportation as an undesirable illegal alien. After Marc is sent temporarily to Ellis Island, Farrow and his lawyer approach him again, offering to help him in exchange for the book. Reminding Farrow that he stills owes him $50,000, Marc stalls Farrow, then discovers the identity of the woman from the Immigration Office, Lynn Warren, and tracks her to the Federated Assistance League. The daughter of a prominent lawyer, Lynn, who helps recently arrived immigrants, is cool to Marc but allows him to accompany her as she drives the Sobieski family to their new ... +


Having been shot and wounded by racketeer Joe Farrow during a crooked craps game, New York gambler Marc Fury is questioned by homicide detectives investigating the death of another player, who was murdered during the same confrontation. Marc's wound makes him a suspect, and although he knows that Farrow shot him in order to frame him, he reluctantly accepts Farrow's offer to stand trial for the murder in exchange for $50,000. During the trial, Marc, who is pleading self-defense, demands his money from Farrow. When Farrow instead writes him an I.O.U., Marc grabs the racketeers' numbers book and threatens to turn it over to the police if Farrow reneges on their deal. Helped by Farrow's false testimony, Marc is then acquitted, but is immediately arrested by federal authorities and taken to the Office of Immigration and Naturalization. Before being questioned, Marc slips Farrow's book into the pocket of a passing woman. Marc, whose real name is Marcus Furioni, then is informed that he is not a United States citizen, as his Italian parents never filed naturalization papers, and now faces deportation as an undesirable illegal alien. After Marc is sent temporarily to Ellis Island, Farrow and his lawyer approach him again, offering to help him in exchange for the book. Reminding Farrow that he stills owes him $50,000, Marc stalls Farrow, then discovers the identity of the woman from the Immigration Office, Lynn Warren, and tracks her to the Federated Assistance League. The daughter of a prominent lawyer, Lynn, who helps recently arrived immigrants, is cool to Marc but allows him to accompany her as she drives the Sobieski family to their new apartment. When Lynn reveals that the Sobieskis have lost their sponsor and may be deported if they fail to find another, Marc, who is attracted to Lynn, suggests that a gambler friend of his might sponsor them. At her posh home, Lynn returns Farrow's book to Marc and, while wary of his aggressive charms, accepts his kiss. Later, during Marc's immigration hearing, Farrow's lawyer pleads Marc's case by pointing out his excellent war record. Not convinced, Judge Revinek invites Marc to speak for himself and is startled when Marc states that he does not know why he wants to stay in America, but knows he does. After the judge gives Marc a few days to come up with an answer, Marc tries again to retrieve his $50,000. Claiming financial hardship, Farrow instead offers to make Marc his partner, but Marc rejects the idea and refuses to return his book. Farrow then orders Sharky and some of his other thugs to follow Marc to Lynn's apartment, and there they beat him up while searching for the book. Although Lynn begs Marc not to take revenge on Farrow, Marc plots with his friend Willie to ambush the racketeer at his New Jersey casino. Before leaving, Marc goes with Lynn to see the Sobieskis, who are being deported because Marc's friend fell through as a sponsor. Lynn sadly tells Marc that the only way to stop their deportation is with money. That night at Farrow's casino, an armed Marc forces Farrow to pay him his $50,000, then flees with an unsuspecting Lynn. When the police stop Lynn's car to question her about the casino "robbery," Lynn lies for Marc but later decries his tactics. After a teary Lynn reads Marc a Thomas Wolfe poem about the "promise of America," Marc asks Willie to deposit the $50,000 under a phony name and write a check made out to Lynn for the same amount, which she is to pass on to the Sobieskis. Marc then delivers a heartfelt, patriotic speech at his immigration hearing, paraphrasing the Wolfe poem. Lynn is moved by Marc's transformation, and Judge Revinek rules in his favor. Afterward, the vengeful Farrow has Sharky and his men watch Marc's movements, and aware that he is being pursued, Marc tells Lynn to forget him. In front of Sharky, Marc then accuses Farrow of using his men as "fall guys" for his misdeeds, and when Farrow orders Sharky to shoot Marc, Sharky fires on Farrow instead. Having been alerted by Willie, the police roar up and arrest Sharky as he is escaping, and Marc, at last free of his past, walks off into the night. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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