DOC’S JOURNEY INTO HAMMER FILMS #8:THE GAMBLER AND THE LADY [1952]

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Directed by: ,
Written by:
Starring: , , ,

Hammer-films

 

 UK

AKA IN THE MONEY

AVAILABLE ON DVD

RUNNING TIME: 72 min

REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic

 

kinopoisk.ru

American Jim Forster started off with nothing four years ago when he arrived in England but is now, through both luck and tenacity, the owner of a pub and some gambling joints. However, his real desire is for social climbing and by day he tries to teach himself to be a proper English gentleman. He dumps his dancer girlfriend Pat and soon takes up with high society lady Susan Willens, but trouble soon arrives in the form of the Colonna brothers, who intend to muscle in on his territory…..

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There was always a chance that that I would have to skip a film that got a DVD release, and it’s the case with Scotland Yard Inspector, which was released on DVD but which no seller seems to want to send from the US to the UK unless it’s for a huge price. Therefore I will move on to another film. Not quite as good as Stolen Face but better than the first two Hammer noirs, The Gambler And The Lady brings to the fore the class issues that seem to be a part of most of these films and presents a kind of Greek tragedy where you know the hero is doomed – the film begins with him fleeing a shooting and staggering wounded into the path of a car – and you feel like screaming at him to listen to sense instead of trying to rise above his station. It had possibly three directors. American Sam Newfield was the initial one but he’d just made Scotland Yard Inspector and it was a violation of the rules for him to helm another project solo when British directors were available, so Patrick Jenkins was brought in, and supposedly an un-credited Terence Fisher also shot some footage, though you can’t tell what parts he shot, the film being quite smooth and doesn’t seem like the work of different filmmakers.

Dane Clark is a little colourless as the lead, but he projects just the right amount of wrong-headed arrogance as he pursues his hopes and dreams but each step that is meant to take him closer to his goal increasingly dooms him and the web of enemies just increases and tightens around around him like a noose. Even the upper-class folk Jim wants so much to be a part of turn out to be a major instrument in his doom. There’s not enough tension in the latter part of the picture, and there is some clumsy dialogue – some of it of the expository kind – here and there, but it all moves quite pacily and you get a short and well-staged pub brawl and….at last in these films….a shoot-out, an expertly shot and exciting affair with good use of blackness, though it’s good to know that even in 1952 people were able to jump through windows and carry on unscathed. The script is fairly logical and incorporates some sniping at the rude, untrustworthy English ruling class, while the performances are generally decent, if not outstanding, with Naomi Chance and Kathleen Byron good as the two very different female leads. Echoes of A Place In The Sun add some interest in a solid, if unspectacular, ‘B’ thriller that is generally well made and absorbing.

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

About Dr Lenera 3031 Articles
I'm a huge film fan and will watch pretty much any type of film, from Martial Arts to Westerns, from Romances [though I don't really like Romcoms!]] to Historical Epics. Though I most certainly 'have a life', I tend to go to the cinema twice a week! However,ever since I was a kid, sneaking downstairs when my parents had gone to bed to watch old Universal and Hammer horror movies, I've always been especially fascinated by horror, and though I enjoy all types of horror films, those Golden Oldies with people like Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee probably remain my favourites. That's not to say I don't enjoy a bit of blood and gore every now and again though, and am also a huge fan of Italian horror, I just love the style.

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