Gambler's Choice (April 27, 1944)

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Chester Morris in Gambler's Choice
 

Released on April 27, 1944: Two boys and a little girl grow up in trouble, one boy becomes a cop, one boy becomes a gambler, and the girl is loved by both.

Produced by William H. Pine and William C. Thomas

Directed by Frank McDonald

The Actors: Chester Morris (Ross Hadley), Nancy Kelly (Mary Rogers and Vi Parker), Russell Hayden (Mike McGlennon), Lee Patrick (Fay Lawrence), Lloyd Corrigan (Ulysses S. Rogers), Sheldon Leonard (Chappie Wilson), Lyle Talbot (Yellow Gloves Weldon), Maxine Lewis (Bonnie D'Arcy), Tom Dugan (Benny), Charles Arnt (Alderman ‘Honest’ John McGrady), Billy Nelson (Danny May), Boots Brown (boy), Bob Burns (court policeman), Jimmy Conlin (Nicky), Joseph Crehan (Toby, bartender), Dick Curtis (Ross' father), Joe Devlin ('Studs' Franco), Dick Elliott (barber), Jim Farley (politician), Sammy Finn (henchman), Sam Flint (family court judge), Byron Foulger (phony robbery victim), Jack Gardner (croupier), Eddie Hall (court stenographer), George Humbert (street vendor), Jack Mulhall (barber customer), Milton Parsons (henchman), Bert Roach (Bob), Dewey Robinson (gambler), Virginia Sale (Mary's aunt), Syd Saylor (husband at police court), Milburn Stone (doctor), Ralph Dunn (Police Sergeant Lonergan), Jack Gordon (passerby), Thomas E. Jackson (Police Sergeant), Michael Jeffers (bar patron), Dick Johnstone (man in voting line), Wilbur Mack (casino patron), Frank Marlowe (Chappie's friend), Thomas Martin (club customer), Pat McKee (man in voting line), Robert Middlemass (Thomas J. Dennis), Al Murphy (waiter), William Pawley (Monk Gibson), Lee Phelps (policeman), Cosmo Sardo (roulette croupier), Ted Stanhope (Chappie's friend), Hal Taggart (club patron), Pat West (Eddie)

 

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The Cop, the Gambler and the Garter Girl

Chester Morris is gangster casino operator Ross Hadley in this movie, but when it was filmed he was already famous for his portrayal of amateur good-guy detective Boston Blackie. In this movie he is cast as the casino gangster that we like.

From the beginning of sound motion pictures Chester Morris was a movie favorite, usually a wise-cracking good natured character. He was awarded the Best Actor Academy Award in his first talking motion picture in 1929, the second year of the Academy Awards. In this story revolving around two men and one woman, he gets top billing, but the story quietly focuses on the character played by the third billed actor, Russell Hayden.

Hayden Michael ‘Pate’ Lucid was born in 1912, and he worked behind the camera as a young man. He was a sound recorder, film splicer and liked to hang around the cameramen during motion picture filming. Pate became good friends with, and learned much about motion pictures from cameraman Russell Harlan. When Pate began acting in front of the camera, he chose the stage name of Russell Hayden, blending his first name with the first name of his mentor, cameraman Russell Harlan.

His first fame came as character Lucky Jenkins, the side-kick to Hopalong Cassidy, and most of his career revolved around cowboy westerns. Later in his career he produced several cowboy television shows including “26 Men” (Watch 26 Men at Jimbo TV —») and Judge Roy Bean (Watch Judge Roy Bean at Jimbo TV —»).

In this big city gangster adventure, he is the clean-cut straight-shooting New York City cop. His two best friends as a youngster were the girl who becomes the casino ‘garter girl’ singer at the gambling hall of his other childhood friend, played by Chester Morris. Both the honest cop and his best friend the casino operator love the garter girl, and she is torn between the fast-living, big money casino man and the quiet, honest cop. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

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