Two Dollar Bettor (1951)

June 4, 2011

John Litel starred in this Jack Broder Production as John Hewitt an average middle age man with an average job, income, and typical family struggles of raising two teenage daughters without a mother. He places a two dollar bet one day at the race track and the addiction begins for him just like an alcoholic. Litel plays this role perfectly and the screenplay from the novel “The Far Turn” went a long way to help him. His final betting situation shows the truth of what it can do to some people. Marie Windsor as Mary Slate provides the classic noir double cross element as she sets him up big time with her husband who of course Hewitt knows nothing about. While this has some of the elements of noir I wouldn’t put it in that category but a melodrama. The fact that she was the bookie collector is suspect. Better to have had her introduced in another way, perhaps at the track the first time Hewitt was there. The problem with the film is the boring scenes with the soap opera family and there is a lot of it. Alfalfa (Carl Switzer) of Our Gang Comedy has a role as a teenage boy and Barbara Billingsley, who went on to fame in Leave It To Beaver as the mother, are only interesting to see in the film and frankly add nothing to the picture. This film is available for free viewing on the internet archive http://www.archive.org/details/Two_Dollar_Bettor_movie    as well as from Alpha Video (ALP 4331D) at a very reasonable cost. I’ve included an audio clip of the main title composed by Irving Goetz as well as the song “Querido” by Jeanne Logan which while pretty enough seemed somewhat out of place. (**)

 

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