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"Gambling Ship"

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Character's Name: Ace Corbin
Release Date:  June 23, 1933
Director: Loius Gasnier, Max Marcin
Studio:  Paramount Publix
Running Time: 70 minutes

Cast: Cary Grant (Ace Corbin), Benita Hume (Eleanor La Velle), Roscoe Karns (Blooey), Glenda Farrell (Jeanne Sands), Jack LaRue (Pete Manning), Arthur Vinton (Joe Burke), Charles Williams (Baby Face), Edwin Maxwell (District Attorney)

- by ZoŽ Shaw
Ace (a gambler) is posing as a businessman, and Eleanor (a moll looking for a sucker) is posing as a socialite. She is the girlfriend of Joe, who owns a gambling ship and has big debts. Joe sells his ship to Ace, who then steals all Manning's (an old enemy) gambling trade. In the end, the ship is taken by Manning's gang, but then they all get washed overboard. The ship crashes on rocks, but Ace and Eleanor make it to shore.

- by Debbie Dunlap
Tired of the dangerous life as gambling boss, Ace Corbin 'retires' from the racket and travels cross-country by train to begin a new life with a new name. On the train, he meets Eleanor and they fall in love. Eleanor is afraid to tell Ace she's a soiled dove and Ace doesn't tell Eleanor of his shady past. Old enemies won't let Ace begin his new life, and old commitments won't free Eleanor of her sordid ties. Ace's old life and Eleanor's deception collide with the typical results. But love conquers all!

This movie was one I postponed watching, because I really wasn't expecting to enjoy it. It turned out to be an entertaining surprise! Definitely an early Cary Grant 'gotta see' movie. An interesting side note: Watch for the graying temples! Knowing how Cary actually looked as he aged, it's almost hilarious to see the makeup department's idea of what he would look like as he began to gray!

VARIETY Film Review - July 18, 1933
- by "Abel"
- submitted by Barry Martin
A fair flicker.  Of the gangster meller genera with a new slant in the gambling ship locale off the coast of Long Beach, Calif. (near Los Angeles).  Another new angle is in the finale where the ship's anchor is cast loose and the waves are permitted to sweep the anti-element off into the briny while the sympathetic faction of the lawless lot fights its way to safety and a suggestion of regeneration for the happy ending.  

An expert cast does wonders in sustaining the shoddy proceedings.  It's one of those 'Cheating Cheaters' ideas and since Max Marcin had much to do with this cinematurgy - embracing production, direction and authorship - any variation of his stage melodrama of that title seems authorized.

Cary Grant is the big shot gambler who thinks he's found the real thing in Benita Hume, a gambler's moll, during their cross-country trek from Chicago to L.A.  The fact that it's an open-and-shut 'make' on the part of both principals establishes a dubious premise from which to evolve the highly romantic aura which has been essayed.  Grant thinks Miss Hume is the McCoy on the swank stuff.

Arthur Vinton and Jack LaRue do well as the opposing gambling ship mobsters, with Vinton the 'right' kind of a gambler.  Roscoe Karns registers in a comedy vein and Charlie Williams, this time sans specs, is a good deadpan stooge for the rival mob.  The rest are bits, some disjointed, such as that business with the Donjuaish sailor.

Film doesn't drag, save in negligible moments, but in toto it's a familiar formula of mob vs. mob with the sympathetic Grant commandeering one bunch to hijack LaRue's more sinister hoodlums.  Speaking of sinisterness, LaRue should never go Raftish and try to act up as a hero; he's the most repellant villyn in major film league and he'll stay on top of the batting order if he doesn't get the Rover Boy complex.

Grant proves his potentialities for femme boxoffice with this inept assignment; ditto Miss Hume, who makes a difficult, chameleon characterization sound almost convincing.  English gal is class and fits that type of assignment handily.  

Technical end is authentic, although the competitive gambling ships around Southern California never have their water taxis taking off from the same dock as here, nor are the ships anchored so close to each other.  But that's a detail which the nabe fans won't be bothered with much.  Film's booking into the Rivoli is an exploitive proposition essentially, as evidenced by the limited single week's assignment.  

NEW YORK TIMES Film Review - July 14, 1933
- by A.D.S.
- submitted by Barry Martin
A bit of old Hollywood entitled "Gambling Ship" found a temporary haven at the Rivoli yesterday. The new arrival - if a collapse into nautical metaphor can be forgiven on a warm day - is a weather-beaten hulk which deserves to be decently retired from active service. It steers an erratic course in too familiar waters, takes a terribly long time to traverse a course which was accurately charted an uncomfortable number of years ago, and, in brief, could be scuttled with almost no loss to Broadway.

The hero of "Gambling Ship" is a romantic desperado who retires from the Chicago beer racket after a notable career of murder and pillage. On the train to New York he meets a mysterious beauty who happens to be the celebrated Eleanor La Velle, mistress of Joe Burke, operator of a luxurious gambling ship in the Atlantic somewhere. The mutual ambition of Mr. Corbin and Miss La Velle is to hide their identity from each other. It can hardly be considered stop-press news that Miss La Velle is profoundly shaken when she discovers who Ace really is. Nor is it a startling revelation that among the scenes preceding the final clinch is one in which the Ace learns the sorrowful facts about Miss La Velle. The events leading up to this quivering climax describe the Ace's efforts to protect the gambling ship from the assaults of a rival gangster.

For this stale and profitless narrative the producers have gathered an attractive cast. Although they are wasted in the leading roles, Cary Grant is a likable and intelligent actor and Benita Hume is a charming British actress. Roscoe Karns is helpful on the humorous side and Jack La Rue gives one of his vivid reptilian performances as the leader of the opposition gang.  

- by Kathy Fox

GAMBLING SHIP is Cary Grant's 11th film, and his co-star Benita Hume will appear again with him in 1936 in SUZY, as the murderess.  Mr. Grant is his usual beautiful self, but my personal feelings about the film are that the plot is thin and confusing.  Grant plays Ace Corbin and Hume plays Eleanor LaVelle.  They are both traveling incognito on a train to California in order to forget their sordid pasts.  I thought that even the reason they were attracted to one another was not sufficient enough for them to fall in love and that their relationship had a hollow ring to it and failed to develop itself on the screen.  However, in the end, boy does get girl.  The movie was pleasant enough, but forgettable.  This movie helped fuel the fire and confirm Grant's suspicions that Paramount Publix had no intention of giving him better roles, so this helped set the stage for him to go free-lance when his contract came up for renewal.  But in the long run, good or bad, this is a Grant film and we are glad that it exists.  We can follow his career from the beginning to end, watching all 72 films intently and taking the best from each.

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