Mr. Lucky

  • 1943
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime

Co-screenwriter Milton Holmes had been the tennis pro at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club and, in that capacity, met many of the stars and moguls who made the movies. He cooked up a story and showed it to Cary Grant, who thought it had some merit. Holmes was paid a fee, then went on salary as he teamed with veteran Adrian Scott to write the screenplay. At...read more

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Co-screenwriter Milton Holmes had been the tennis pro at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club and, in that capacity, met many of the stars and moguls who made the movies. He cooked up a story and showed it to Cary Grant, who thought it had some merit. Holmes was paid a fee, then went on salary as

he teamed with veteran Adrian Scott to write the screenplay. At first glance, it's not an easy tale to swallow because Grant is shown as a rogue gambler who takes great pleasure in dodging the draft and is not above bilking a charity out of money earmarked for the war effort. Despite that, the

picture turned a neat profit that neared $2 million (chicken feed by the standards of the 1990s). Grant owns a gambling ship and needs a bundle to outfit the craft for a trip to Cuba. The draft board sends "greetings" and Grant's associates, Stewart and Carney, also get the word from the

government. Bickford skippers the gambling ship and is awaiting orders. Grant's pal is dying and holds a 4-F card, so Grant appropriates it and takes the identity of the dead man. Meanwhile, the American Relief Society, a group of wealthy women who are raising money to transport medical supplies,

appears on the scene. Day (on loan from MGM) is an heiress who is interested in Grant's scheme. He thinks that he might be able to raise a bit of loot for her group, which is also supported by Cooper, Johnson, and a charity-ball gambling concession. His intention is, of course, to bilk the society

out of the money so he can use it to refurbish his ship and to make millions on the high seas. At the ball Grant sees the money pile up, but Stewart arrives and wants his cut of the take. To further complicate matters, Grant is now operating with a phony ID; it turns out his dead pal was a

two-time loser and the next conviction means a life term. It all works out, of course, and Grant and Day fall for each other, and Grant is redeemed through the love of a good woman. It's almost a takeoff on a gangster movie, but takes itself seriously too often and, in the end, is not a

particularly tasteful story. It was made again in 1950 as GAMBLING HOUSE and also inspired a TV series in 1959. Putting aside any moralizing, it's a well-made movie with some fun attached. Stewart, the heavy, was appearing in his third movie after having made his debut as Welles's valet in CITIZEN

KANE at the age of 33, after nearly 20 years of stage acting. MR. LUCKY is blessed with a good cast and a sensational title, but it is not a terrific film.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Co-screenwriter Milton Holmes had been the tennis pro at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club and, in that capacity, met many of the stars and moguls who made the movies. He cooked up a story and showed it to Cary Grant, who thought it had some merit. Holmes was… (more)

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