Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Gambler from Natchez, 1954

Regular readers will know that 1954 was my first year at the movies, when aged 8, and taken to the cinema by my parents in Ireland. Dad took me to westerns like JOHNNY GUITAR, SITTING BULL, DRUM BEAT, SHANE, and THE GAMBLER FROM NATCHEZ - western star Dale Robertson was my first movie crush! He is effective here, effortlessly gambling or swordfighting or romancing Debra Paget as the riverboat girl, and he also looks spiffing in his military outfit. (My mother and aunts must have taken me to A STAR IS BORN and other musicals, which I also loved...).

Returning to New Orleans, following four years of army service in Texas in the 1840s, Captain Vance Colby finds his father, a professional gambler, has been killed. The police tell him his father was killed while caught cheating in a card game by Andre Rivage, an arrogant young dilettante. Vance protests that his father was an honest gambler and never used marked cards, but the police inspector tells him there were witnesses. 
Aided by a riverboat owner, Captain Barbee, and his daughter, Melanie, Vance sets out to clear his father's name and avenge his death.
Its a nice period western now, with riverboats (like Tyrone Power's similar THE MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER about the same time) as Dale seeks revenge on the killers of his gambling father who are led by dastardly Kevin McCarthy, Thomas Gomez is Debra's riverboat father, and its all splendid, directed by Henry Levin, script by Irving Wallace. 

1 comment:

  1. You definitely haven't sold THE GAMBLER FROM NACHETZ to me! Give me MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER anytime (and even that's quite average).