Any Number Can Play The Game
Any Number Can Play is a 1949 drama film, based on a book of the same name. It stars Clark Gable and Alexis Smith as a family trying to come to terms with the father operating an illegal casino. The film is directed by the legendary Mervyn Leroy. It was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
The Main Plot Outline
The film is about a Casino owner named Charlie played by Clark Gable. He is told by his doctor that he has heart disease and needs to start slowing down and taking better care of himself. Charley has too much on his plate though; he has a wife and son to support as well as his wife’s sister and her husband, Robin. Charlie however does decide to quit smoking and drinking and to spend moiré quality time with his wife and son.
Charlie’s wife, played by Alexis Smith is not satisfied with how they make a living, especially after a couple who lost all their savings at a casino confronts Charlie. His son also resents his business and refuses to accompany his father on a fishing trip. More family drama and results in Charlie having to make some important life choices. Soon Robin tells Charlie about his $2000 debt to a local gangster due to the gangster using loaded dice to win bets. Charlie also has to resist the advances of one of his employees played by Mary Astor. When a local big time gambler shows up at Charlie’s casino, he is left to make some big life choices that will impact his staff and his family forever.
The Powerful Cast
This powerful film sees Clark Gable in a powerful and emotional role, showcasing a wide range of emotions as his personal life falls apart around him. As he feels more out of control, his supporting cast compliments him well, especially the performance by his son, played by Darryl Hickman.
The Well Versed Director
The film is directed by Mervyn Leroy who has been involved in some of the most well known Hollywood releases, both as a director, actor and producer ,including-Ziegfeld Follies, An American in Paris, Annie Get Your Gun, Show Boat, Singing in the Rain , Kismet , The Wizard of Oz and The Subterranean. Mervyn Leroy got his start in costumes and worked as a camera assistant. He soon moved to writing and acting, appearing in the iconic film, The Ten Commandments. This is where LeRoy met the renowned director, Cecile B DeMille who taught Leroy everything he needed to know to direct film.
Clark Gable is one of the most well know Hollywood actors. Starting on stage and silent films, he worked his way up to become one of the best box office investments for MGM, the studio he was under contract to. He has won a Best Actor academy Award for his role in It Happened One Night; he was nominated for his role in Mutiny On The Bounty and for his role in Gone With The Wind. Some of his most critically acclaimed roles before Any Number Can Play include Red Dust, Manhattan Melodrama, San Francisco, Saratoga and Boomtown. Gable’s Co Star, Alexi Smith started in Hollywood in the 40’s but later found even more acclaim with her career on Broadway that earned her a Tony Award.