1949 MGM

Produced by Arthur Freed.
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy.
Screenplay by Richard Brooks, based on the book by Edward Harris Heth.
Photography by Harold Rosson.
Art Direction by Cedric Gibbons and Uric McCleary. 
Musical Score by Lennie Hayton. 
Editor: Ralph F. Winters.
Release date: July 2, 1949.
Running time: 112 minutes.

CAST: Clark Gable, Alexis Smith, Wendell Corey, Audrey Totter, Prank Morgan, Mary Astor, Lewis Stone, Barry Sullivan, Marjorie Rambeau,
Edgar Buchanan, Leon Ames, Mickey Knox, Richard Rober, William Conrad, Darryl Hickman, Caleb Peterson, Dorothy Comingore, Art Baker.


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 The loaded dice have been withdrawn.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.


Film Daily: This saga of gambling will need all the name value at its command to overcome the handicap of a loose, rambling, disorganized, frankly confusing script. The story starts off well enough and even looks like one of the elegant old-time underworld Gable melodramas. But in its progression, it tackles a number of story threads, and none of them comes off convincingly.

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.

Time: Any Number Can Play sets out to prove that gambling is a true test of character. If it is, the hero (Clark Gable) is pure gold. . . . Above all, he is a "nut for human dignity" (as one of his employees puts it) and always has a kind word and a fistful of dollars for the men he has wined. . . . Director LeRoy has tried half-heartedly to keep the suds from showing, but soap opera, like murder, will out.

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