Gambling Lady

1934 Romantic Gambler Film The Gambling Lady

Some films dance around the topic of betting, others feature betting aspects in passing or as anticipation builders and then some like this one embrace the field as a whole. Gambling Lady is a Pre-code film with a romantic overlay that focuses around a gambler’s daughter and her life, her love and her morals. It centers largely on gambling and builds its story with pivotal wagering moments. This film was directed by Archie Mayo and features some rather big names at the time like Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea as actors embodying the roles of the characters within. The pace of today’s entertainment may make a film like this seem slow, but at the time this was pretty well made.

The Plot and more About Gambling Lady

Gambling Lady focuses on the character Lady Lee, who was raised to be an honest gambler by her father, avoiding the very illegal betting possibilities and crowds. To this effect Lady’s father commits suicide after accruing substantial debt with an underground crowd and then to prevent it when he is pressured through this debt to go crooked. This particular bad crowd is led by Jim Fallin and after his death Lady unknowingly works with him. But being raised by said honest gambling father she eventually realises how crooked the whole operation is and leaves to go it alone.

This is where the romance of the film enters into the picture in its most overwhelming of doses. A doting young man who has shown lady interest for quite a time proposes to her, however she find herself falling for another. The other man here is Garry Madison and what stands in the way of their union is Lady’s fears over his father’s acceptance of her. This turns out to be well grounded despite learning she actually knows his father, Peter, because the man ultimately denies the union. Instead he offers her money to walk away, she refuses but concedes. This leads the father to reconsider and finally leave it down to chance, making a draw high card wager. He draws a Jack and Lady draw a queen, allowing her to marry Garry.

Further events transpire, involving other women, blackmail and ultimately morals being brought to light and Lady Lee being found to be rather pure of heart, an honest gambler it could be said, following after her father’s teachings. Gambling Lady is quite a unique movie, despite having quite a few plot lines regarded now as somewhat predictable, partly because of the freedom afforded to it in the Pre-code era it was made.

The Cast and Betting Themed Movies

As mentioned earlier, the main roles in Gambling Lady were played by Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea, who portray the characters Lady Lee and Garry Madison respectively. Other actors involved include Robert Barrat, Pat O’Brien and C. Aubrey Smith.

Movies like this one that follow the story of gambling or a gambler in particular are often edgy and exciting, with some cultural reflection as well as emotional and moral juggling and invigorating. Usually an interesting combination.