ANY NUMBER CAN PLAY
Charley King (Clark Gable), at forty, prides himself on his successful career as an honest gambler and cannot understand why his wife, Lon (Alexis Smith), and his seventeen-year-old son, Paul (Darryl Hickman), disapprove of his profession.
On the way to his casino, Charley runs into Ben Sneller (Lewis Stone), once a big shot gambler, now broke. He stakes him to five hundred dollars when Ben tells him that he feels lucky. Ben enters his gambling casino with him and sits down at the poker table.
Meanwhile, Charley's worthless brother-in-law, Robbie (Wendell Corey), has been blackmailed into letting two crooks, Angie and Sisti (Edgar Buchanan) take a hand in arap game with loaded dice. Charley becomes suspicious of the two but before he can investigate, he learns that Ben Sneller, having lost the five hundred, is attempting suicide. He takes his gun from him in the nick of time. At that moment news comes that Charleys son, Paul, has been arrested as a result of a brawl. Charley rushes off to get him out of jail, but Paul refuses to leave with him. Lon comes to Charley's aid and prevails upon Paul to go with her to the gambling house and see the place for themselves.
By this time Sisti and Angie have stopped playing craps. The loaded
dice have been withdrawn. An honest game is in progress with Jim Kersten
(Leon Ames), a rich client of Charley's playing in spectacular luck.
Charley, although seeing ruin staring him in the face, refuses to stop
the game. Instead he pits his own luck against Kersten's and wins back
all the money lost. When Angie and Sisti try to hold up the place they
are stopped by Charley. At last Paul realizes his father's worth. Touched
by his son's show of affection, Charley plays a fixed hand against his
employees, deliberately losing the casino to them and starts out with
his wife and the boy to begin a new life.
Box Office: Clark Gable and good exploitation values will give Any Number Can Play sturdy initial interest at the box-office. Gable walks comfortably through his assignment. Alexis Smith gives just an adequate reading to her role of Gable's wife, and Audrey Totter has little to do as a sister-in-law. The part is a natural for Clark Gable and he plays it with all the debonair authority that has kept him at the top of the ladder.
Hollywood Reporter: Arthur Freed's production endows the show
with interesting atmosphere and he certainly casts it from the best
pages of the directory. Mervyn leRoy's direction has punch, as it inevitably
would, when the script allows him some room for imaginative action.
But neither of these two highly reputable film men are the matches of
a story whose vigor is dissipated before the end of the first reel and
whose contrived situations lack conviction and credibility.