What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
This movie is not on my list of essential films.
NOTE: This installment of Sports Analogies Hidden In Classic Movies is being done as part of something called the Send In The Marines Blog-A-Thon being hosted by J-Dub from Dubsism and Gill from RealWeegieMidget Reviews. The premise is simple. Since this event coincides with the anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps, this blog-a-thon is dedicated to films or television programs either about the USMC, those in which actual Marines appear, or feature actors who served in the Marine Corps.
The Connection to the USMC:
Before he became the “King of the B-Movie,” Macdonald Carey was commissioned officer in the U.S. Marines, serving in Air Warning Squadron 2 as a radar operator from 1943 to 1947. He participated in the battles of Bougainville and Mindanao, and attained the rank of captain.
After serving in the USMC, Carey dabbled in television along the way to becoming a B-movie icon, but in 1965 when he took the role of the Horton family patriarch in the soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” television history was about to be made. “Days of Our Lives” is still on the air today, but for the first thirty years of it’s run, Macdonald Carey’s “Dr. Tom Horton” was the central character.
This show became so popular that for a time in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Carey enjoyed a recognition level in the United States rivaling that of Walter Cronkite or the President.
Hugh Halsworth and his wife Miriam (played by Macdonald Carey and Claudette Colbert respectively) are in the process of finalizing their divorce. Miriam has hit the “split” button because Hugh is a degenerate gambler, but unlike most gamblers, he wins more often than he loses. He also has an odd obsession with his rose bushes, which becomes important later in the film. In any event, she’s already kicked him out of the house and has moved in her daughter Barbara (played by Barbara Bates) and her son-in-law Jerry Denham (played by Robert Wagner).
Meanwhile, Hugh is living in the Miramar Hotel, which also happens to be his place of employment. What further complicates matters is that Jerry Denham also works at the hotel, and Hugh just so happens to be his boss. Topping it all off is the fact the re-appearance of millionaire bachelor Victor Macfarland (played by Zachary Scott). Macfarland drips with political aspirations as he is trying to get named to the President’s financial advisory committee. By the way he was Hugh’s main rival for Miriam’s hand in marriage.
Obviously, he is happy to find out about Miriam’s divorce, and Miriam’s son-in-law is more than happy to try and re-kindle that flame because he wants to move out of the house, but he can’t do that until his wife knows her mother is re-married. But as this film is prone…there’s yet another complication which comes in the form of a blond fortune hunter named Joyce Mannering (played by Marilyn Monroe).
Joyce is all in trying to attract Victor, but he’s only interested in winning back Miriam. Victor side-steps Joyce and ultimately proposes to Miriam, and she accepts. The next complication is Victor post-pones the wedding as he needs to go to Washington for a hearing on his committee appointment. But just before he boards the plane, Victor tells Miriam why he left her twenty years ago, but the audience is left in the dark as the plane’s engine noise drowns out Victor’s explanation.
The result is the audience has no idea why Miriam is now furious with Hugh, and neither does he. She chews him out over the phone, but doesn’t tell him why she’s pissed. He demands an explanation, she threatens to rip up his rose bushes, all of which leads to a comic chains of events leading to the arrest of Hugh and Jerry.
Miriam and Barbara get them out of the slammer. Hugh comes to the house the next morning to collect his clothing when Miriam tells him Victor spilled the beans about Hugh winning her hand in a craps game. Hugh cops to it, but he also tells her he still has those two dice. Hugh tells Miriam to throw them, and lo and behold…they’re loaded. They always roll three and four. Hugh tells Miriam that was the only time he cheated while gambling; he felt he had to because the stakes were so high. They embrace, and the film ends with the impression they lived happily ever after.
The Hidden Sports Analogy:
Gambling…need I say more? There’s a complete “chicken-or-egg” thing in the relationship between big-time sports and gambling; did gambling become huge because of sports or did sports become huge because of gambling? Either way, they are both huge business, and they are virtually inseparable. The relationship between the two never changes, even if the games themselves evolve.
There’s a ton of horse racing references in this movie, which is fitting because in 1951, “the sports of kings” was one of the biggest spectator sports in this country. While it still figures prominently in the gambling world, it’s been surpassed by the National Football League…amongst others. But the events being gambled on matters little; the point is if you give us a sport, we’ll find a way to wager on it.
You know that if Hugh Halsworth lived today, his phone would be full of gambling apps for everything from off track betting on the ponies to those daily fantasy sports sites. It’s too bad he isn’t, because I’m sure he would have been a big fan of the J-Dub Gambling Challenge. We’ve already established the link between gambling and sports, so what else would you expect from a series combining classic cinema with the world of sports?
Besides, I’m sure Macdonald Carey and I could have a pretty interesting conversation about Marine aviation…
The Moral of The Story:
The old saying about “winners never cheat and cheaters never win” is complete crap.
If you want to read more about U.S. Marine Macdonald Carey, this isn’t the first movie of his to appear in this series.
Check out Dubsism’s Movies and Blog-A-Thons page for a full schedule of projects past, present, and future!
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