Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Gambling on the High Seas (1940)

GAMBLING ON THE HIGH SEAS (1940) is a fun Warner Bros. "B" film starring Wayne Morris, Jane Wyman, and Gilbert Roland.

Roland plays mobster Greg Morella, who gets around anti-gambling legislation by running a gambling operation aboard a fancy ship off the Eastern Coast. The only way he can be shut down is if it's proven his tables are rigged, in which case he can be charged with piracy.

Morris plays Jim Carter, a reporter who hangs around the ship looking for stories. He's sweet on Morella's secretary-bookkeeper Laurie (Wyman), who would like to stop working for her crooked employer but fears for her life if she quits.

This is a fun, fast-moving 55-minute "B" film with a good cast, which also includes John Litel as the U.S. District Attorney. Roger Pryor, Frank Wilcox, John Gallaudet, and George Reeves are also in the movie. I think they put some makeup on 33-year-old Frank Ferguson to age him in his role as the City District Attorney! Watch for one of my WB faves, John Ridgely, in a tiny part as a radio operator.

Morris and Wyman are both cute, although Wyman's character doesn't move front and center until the second half of the movie. The movie does exactly what it was designed to do, entertain viewers for a little less than an hour.

The movie is a loose remake of SPECIAL AGENT (1935), which starred George Brent, Bette Davis, and Ricardo Cortez. I knew the bookkeeper in danger seemed familiar and realized why afterwards! WB was certainly thrifty, regularly recycling its properties. The script was by Robert E. Kent.

GAMBLING ON THE HIGH SEAS was directed by George Amy and filmed in black and white by L. William O'Connell.

GAMBLING ON THE HIGH SEAS is not available on DVD or other formats. It has been shown on Turner Classic Movies. Watch the trailer on the TCM website.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds a fun movie and a good cast. When I think of the Jane Wyman of the 1950s, she looks so different ( and so blonde!)

12:30 AM  

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