Gambling Ship (1933): Pre-Code Gambling Drama, Starring Cary Grant

Louis J. Gasnier and Max Marcin co-directed Gambling Ship, a Pre-Code drama starring Cary Grant and Benita Hume.

Claude Binyon and Max Marcin‘s script was based on Paul Cain’s short stories: “Fast One”, “Lead Party,” “Velvet,” and “The Heat,” published in the Black Mask magazine.

Cary Grant is well cast as Ace Corbin, a charming Chicago gangster acquitted of murder charges, who decides to begin a new life in California.

On the train, he falls in love with Eleanor La Velle (Benita Hume) a gambler’s girlfriend, but both conceal their true identities.

In Southern California, Eleanor discovers that her lover, Joe Burke owner of the Casino Del Mar steamer, is in debt as Pete Manning’s thugs are ruining his business.

Eleanor remains loyal and helps Joe with his business, rather than leave him for Ace. Joe and his right-hand man Blooey (Roscoe Karns) then offer to turn over the casino to Ace, so he can improve the business and seek vengeance on Manning.

When Ace runs the casino he thwarts Manning’s customers by commandeering the water taxis over to his steamship instead. Ace encounters Eleanor on board the ship and she discovers his true identity. Eleanor who is in love with Ace remains on the ship, even after Manning’s men cause a fire.

After the fire is out, the district attorney investigates, which exposes Eleanor’s real identity. Back aboard the casino steamship, during a storm Joe and Ace accuse Eleanor of lying to them. Blooey releases the anchor and the crashing waves wash Manning and his men off the deck. Ace and Eleanor jump to safety, clearing the way for marriage.

Cary Grant as Ace Corbin
Benita Hume as Eleanor La Velle
Jack La Rue as Pete Manning
Glenda Farrell as Jeanne Sands
Roscoe Karns as Blooey
Arthur Vinton as Joe Burke


Written by Claude Binyon and Max Marcin
Cinematography: Charles Lang
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date: June 23, 1933
Running time: 72 minutes