Friday, 15 November 2013

THE JACKPOT (1950) WEB SITE


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  • Production Credits

  • Director - Walter Lang
  • Screenplay - Phoebe Ephron
  • Screenplay - Henry Ephron
  • Producer - Samuel G. Engel
  • Source Material (from article) - John McNulty
  • Cinematography - Joseph La Shelle
  • Editor - J. Watson Webb Jr.
  • Music - Lionel Newman
  • Special Effects - Fred Sersen
  • Costume Designer - Edward Stevenson


Those radio programs of yesterday had call in features about guessing on the air a question of different topics. If the person called answered it correctly, he, or she, would stand to win fabulous prizes which were always quoted in dollars. Most of the unsuspecting participants had no clue of what really was in store for them if they won.

That is exactly what happens to Bill Lawrence. He is happily married to Amy, a wonderful woman. They have two children and they are the picture of happiness American style. It was the boom years after WWII, so Bill had a nice job in his town's biggest department store. When he receives a call during the day to stay tuned to a radio station, he thought it was a big joke. After he realizes it is not, he frets when he has no clue as to what the right answer identifying a celebrity. With a little help of his friend, Harry Summers, he gets it right. The mystery man is none other than Harry James.

Little did Bill know what his life would turn out to be. The next day all his gifts start arriving. They go from the sublime to the ridiculous. The problem is the Lawrences do not have a house big enough to store all the goodies courtesy of the different sponsors of the radio program. Not only that, but an internal revenue agent appears to explain to them they owe seven thousand dollars because of all the gifts they received, money they do not have. The Lawrences are the victims of their own fortune! Bill must come with a solution to get them out of debt using whatever methods in his power.

This 1950 Twenty Century Fox comedy is hardly seen on television these days. It is a forgotten gem that will delight everyone. It is a story about innocence when a bonanza befalls a person who is not prepared what to do with his good fortune. Directed by Walter Lang, with a screenplay by Henry and Phoebe Ephron, a distinguished comedy writers with a long career in the movies. The idea for the film came out of an article that appeared in The New Yorker by John McNulty.

The film was obviously a vehicle for James Stewart who makes his Bill a delightful character. The film works because Mr. Stewart, a wonderful film actor, was an asset in anything he played. Barbara Hale appears as Amy Lawrence. The veteran James Gleason is on hand to give life to Harry Summers, the newspaper man who realizes what Bill is going through. Natalie Wood, Alan Mowbray, the wonderful Fred Clark, and Patricia Medina are seen in supporting roles.
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CRITICA EN EL PERIODICO "ABC DE MADRID" (21-10-1952)
Una cinta de corte típicamente americano, es la que ayer brindó, en estreno, en el Palacio de la Prensa, con el título "Cuidado con los Inspectores". En ella se buscan con fortuna, es cierto, los aspectos hilarantes, sin pararse en evitar las extremosidades, sino por el contrario, recreandose en situaciones que rozan lo astracanesco. Pero los resultados, como ya he apuntado, son satisfactorios, púes el publico celebra los lances con risas espontaneas y repetidas. No se llega, ni se pretende llegar, a la tragedia grotesca, mas la narración es un pequeño grotesco drama: un matrimonio con dos pequeños chiquillos niño y niña "el marido, alto empleado de un almacén y la esposa en los quehaceres caseros", que recibe un premio de veinte mil dólares en regalos por haber acertado el varón un concurso radiofónico. Sin embargo, la suerte que parecía haber entrado con prodigalidad por las puertas de la casa, no es tanta, pues cada objeto o articulo, aislado o en lote, que forma el envío, está sujeto a impuestos, y por el total se han de pagar seis mil dólares en impuestos, cantidad que no disponen la familia. Y ahí comienzan, las tribulaciones y las agitaciones, que están a punto de dar al traste hasta con la felicidad conyugal. La gracia reside principalmente, más que en la trama en si, en los detalles, en cada contingencia que se presenta; en la comicidad particular e independiente, de cada situación. Walter Lang, el director, ha llevado con indiscutible habilidad la realización, combinando las jocosas imágenes con la apetecida movilidad para los empeños de ese género. Todos los pasajes, cabe afirmar que son graciosos, pero los hay muy acusadamente, como el de la señora que se va probando modelos de sombreros "Quinta Avenida" en tanto que un supuesto comprador del piano, recién traído y ya en venta, en la casa, lo ensaya. James Stewart y Barbára Hale son los protagonistas, aunque es el primero quien asume la principal y mas difícil labor, con una compresión y una flexibilidad encomiables sin reservas. En cuanto a la actriz, esta muy ajustada al tipo femenino que interpreta, y su trabajo es excelente. Los personajes episódicos, entre los que destaca el encanto de Patricia Medina, merecen igualmente el aplauso. DONALD.


















 





 

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