- by ZoŽ
Joe is the owner of a big
gambling ship, the Fortuna. In order escape the draft and continue his
profession, he takes on the identity of a dead man. There the trouble
- by Donna Moore
The year is 1941 and Cary Grant is Joe Adams, co-owner of a
gambling ship, soon to set sail for Havana. However, Adams receives his draft notice which
could spoil all his plans. He dodges the draft by taking the identity of recently deceased
crew member Joseph Bascopolous - not knowing that Bascopolous is an ex-convict with 3
convictions, one more and he goes to prison for life. Although unscrupulous, Adams lives
by the rule "Never give a sucker an even break, but don't cheat a friend".
Adams meets up with charity fund raiser Dorothy and gets
the idea of a gambling concession at the forthcoming charity ball. Unfortunately, the
ladies of the War Relief Office take some persuading, particularly Dorothy, and it is only
by using his particular 'skills' to their advantage that they finally give in. Once
Dorothy is on his side she even helps him to evade the police, under the impression that
he is an ex-con.
Adams' intention is to con the ladies of the War Relief
organization and take all the money from the gambling concession. However, he has a change
of heart when a priest translates a letter from Bascopolous' mother. Despite an attempt by
his ex-partner, Zepp, to double-cross him, he ensures that the charity receives all the
money. Dorothy finds out just in time that his ship is due to set sail, not as a gambling
ship, but instead loaded with medical supplies, and hurries to the docks. She tells him
she loves him but he leaves. On the return trip, his ship is sunk and Dorothy waits, night
after night, at the dock side. Is he dead or is he alive?
Only Cary Grant could make the essentially amoral Joe Adams
likeable, and, in the scene in the church where he ceases to be the bad guy, his
conversion can be seen in his face. There are also several comic moments - the scenes
where he is knitting as part of the War Relief effort are particularly good. It's not a
great film, but it's a good one, and I for one would be happy to wait indefinitely on the
dock side for Cary Grant!
Film Review - December 22, 1943
- submitted by Barry Martin
'Mr. Lucky' is as fresh as this week's ration coupon. Expertly devised to provide top entertainment as a romantic drama of unusual and breezy tenor, it's a solid attraction for the key spots and general runs as a solo or billtopper aiming for hefty grosses. Marquee voltage of Cary Grant in starring spot will keep the wickets spinning and generate holdovers.
Story is one of the freshest angles that has come out of Hollywood in many months. Despite its underlying dramatic foundation, it's studded with light and breezy episodes that catch
strong audience reaction and concentrates interest in the proceedings throughout without a letdown.
Grant is a resourceful and opportunist gambling operator, figuring on outfitting his outlawed gaming ship for trip to Havana. But coin and draft registration balk his departure. Assuming name and draft card of a dying 4-F, he launches drive to raise the moola and runs into society heiress Laraine Day. Pursuing her for romantic pitches, he lands as a member of the war
relief agency and proceeds to ply his con to help the outfit with supplies and boat charters. Proposing handling the gambling concession on a relief ball, Grant whips it through, and the take is healthy until former partner Paul Stewart moves in to grab the haul for himself. Girl, figuring Grant has given both herself and the organization the double-cross on the coin, gets it all back, and then discovers his former gambling boat has been chartered to the war relief group for transportation overseas. Then there's the natural happy ending.
Picture carries an authentic ring to operations of bigtime gamblers, and it faithfully follows the professional premise of 'never give the sucker a break, but never cheat a friend.' Writer Milton Holmes, in
selling his first screen original, hews closely to the lines of actual incidents rather than depending on synthetic dramatics to drop it into the groove of obvious cinematic dramatics.
Grant does a slick job in portraying the gambling operator, and makes
the most of the smart material, lines and situations provided by the script, although at times the direction rather overstresses his delivery of dialog. Miss Day catches attention as the girl, and picture should do a lot for her in raising her boxoffice status. Alan Carney
clearly etches the character of Grant's sidekick and aide; his prototype will be found in any class gaming establishment. Charles Bickford give his usual good performance as the ship's skipper; Henry
Stephenson delivers as the girl's irascible grandfather, while Paul Stewart, Gladys Cooper and Kay Johnson are most prominent in remaining support.
David Hempstead ably handles production reins, while H.C. Potter's direction swings the tale along at a consistent and interesting clip. Photography by George Barnes is
topnotch in line with grade-A mounting provided for the production.
NEW YORK TIMES
Film Review - July 23, 1943
- submitted by Barry Martin
hear of rhyming slang? Well, if you haven't, get set to have your
ears assailed by a torrent of this colorful gibberish in "Mr.
Lucky," which moved into the Radio City Music Hall yesterday.
It's bewildering, but it's fn. Want to ponder a sample? Says Cary
Grant to a wide-eyed, uncomprehending Laraine Day: "Hand me
the fiddle-and-flute; get your tit-for-tat." Deciphered, Mr.
Grant simply asked for his best suit and told his
"briny-marlin" (darling) to put on her hat. Simple,
isn't it? The Australians, if it will be any consolation, are
supposed to be pretty good at this sort of lingual gymnastics,
which, according to RKO Radio, originated more than a century ago
among English vagabonds as a means of conversing secretly out loud
in public. Anyway, it's used liberally throughout "Mr.
Lucky" (Mr. Grant obligingly gives the translations) and adds
a bit of sparkle to the dialogue.
Park Avenue, selective service and war relief have all been rolled
into one tidy package of romantic comedy-drama in "Mr.
Lucky." Milton Holmes, in his debut as a scenarist, hit upon
a sound comic premise when he thought of having a boss gambler
move in on a group of dames and take over their faltering charity
affair. Joe Bascopolous - plain Adams before he got a 1-A
classification on the very day his Greek henchman conveniently
passes away with a 4-F rating - is all for helping the ladies
raise the $100,000 necessary to send a relief ship to Europe.
Cary Grant is slick
and slippery as an eel (or should it be heel in this case?), which
is just what the role demands. And Miss Day is both lovely and
competent as the Park Avenue lass who finds Joe pretty much of a
diamond in the rough. Alan Carney makes a very likable dumb-cluck
out of the character called The Crunk, and several lesser roles
are all well performed by Charles Bickford, Gladys Cooper, Paul
Stewart and Henry Stephenson.
What the fluttering
damsels don't know is that the handsome rascal has a relief plan
of his own. His scheme is to operate a gambling concession at the
relief dance and to fleece the gullible society swells right
proper by slipping off with the evening's take. But Joe didn't
count on running into anything as pretty as Dorothy Bryant (Miss
Day) in the relief business. Nor did he count on falling in love,
or being double-crossed by one of his mob. All this naturally has
quite an effect on Joe's original plan; an effect that is
sometimes comic, romantic and even melodramatic. Yes, "Mr.
Lucky" is a picture of many moods, and they are all handled
expertly by Director H.C. Potter.
The light touch
prevails pretty much, so "Mr. Lucky" should keep you in
a more or less chucklesome mood most of the time.
- by Kathy Fox
This is Mr. Grant's
43rd film, released in 1943, which is the year I was born! This is
Cary's only picture with Laraine Day, in which he plays Joe Adams, owner of
a large gambling ship, the Fortuna. Joe is in need of financial
backing, and when one of his friends dies aboard his ship, he assumes his
identity so that he does not have to go to war. Joe is now Mr.
Baskopolas and seeks the help of a war relief agency in New York, while all
the time planning a gambling operation in which he will abscond with most of
the funds. In the meantime Adams has met up with Dorothy Bryant (Laraine
Day) and she falls in love with him. Joe decides in the end not to
take the money and to give it to war relief fund, but his cronies have
different ideas and they shoot him. He finally gets the money to the
appropriate person and Dorothy finds that he is not Baskopolas after all and
goes down to the shipyards to await Joe's return where he has loaded up the
stuff and taken it to Europe for war relief. Joe has also renamed his
ship The Briney Marlin (which means darlin), in the cute little banter that
Joe and Dorothy have developed throughout the movie. It's really cute
to hear all the little rhyming sayings. Grant plays kind of a bad-guy
gone good-guy taking a bit of a chance with his career which he did in
SUSPICION. Indeed, it was successful as it was one of RKO's biggest
profit makers of the year, bringing in more than $1.6 million dollars.
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
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