Mervyn LeRoy – Any Number Can Play (1949)

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Plot Synopsis by Mark Deming

In this light drama, Clark Gable once again played his stock-in-trade role of a rogue with a heart of gold. Charlie King (Gable) runs a casino, but, in a business that thrives among the unscrupulous, Charlie takes pride in running an honest game and treating his customers with fairness and respect. However, Charlie’s wife Lon (Alexis Smith) doesn’t care if he runs a fair game — she regards gambling as a dirty and corrupt business, and no matter how honest Charlie may be, he’s still involved in a wicked activity. Charlie’s son Paul (Darryl Hickman) is also against him; when Paul gets in trouble and Charlie bails him out of jail, he refuses to leave with him, instead going home with mother. Charlie invites Paul to see what his casino is like, and Lon agrees that Paul should know just what his father does. Continue reading

Mervyn LeRoy – Anthony Adverse (1936)

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In late 18th century Italy, a beautiful young woman finds herself married to a rich but cruel older man. However, she is in love with another, younger man. When the husband finds out, he kills the lover in a swordfight, and takes his wife on a long trip throughout Europe. Months later, she dies giving birth to a son. The husband leaves the child at a convent, where he is raised until the age of 10; then he is apprenticed to a local merchant, who gives him the name “Anthony Adverse” because of the adversity in his life. But his adversity has only begun, as fate takes him to Cuba, Africa, and Paris. Written by John Oswalt {jao@jao.com} (IMDB). Continue reading

Mervyn LeRoy – A Majority of One (1961)

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Mrs. Jacoby, a Brooklyn widow whose only son was killed by the Japanese in World
War II, reluctantly agrees to accompany her daughter, Alice, and her son-in-law, Jerry
Black, on a trip to Japan, where Jerry is to help negotiate a trade agreement. En route by
ship, Mrs. Jacoby’s resentment of the Japanese subsides when she meets Mr. Asano, a
Japanese industrialist whose family also was struck by tragedy during the war. Their
friendship ends, however, when Jerry suspects that Mr. Asano, who is also a
negotiating member of the trade committee, is ingratiating himself with his mother-in-law
for political gain. Although Mrs. Jacoby considers this suspicion unfounded, she refuses
to see Mr. Asano on their last night at sea. Once in Japan, Jerry unintentionally offends
Mr. Asano, and the conference meetings are terminated. Mrs. Jacoby slips away and
visits Mr. Asano at his home. After a delightful evening, he agrees to resume
negotiations. When things are satisfactorily settled and the three Americans are
preparing to leave, Mrs. Jacoby is startled by a marriage proposal from Mr. Asano. She is
also angered by the bigoted reaction of Alice and Jerry. However, her main reason for
declining the offer is because she feels that both she and Mr. Asano are still tied to their
memories. Months later, Mr. Asano arrives in New York as a delegate to the United
Nations. He renews his acquaintance with Mrs. Jacoby, who is now happy to accept his
courtship. Continue reading