Good Sam (1948): Leo McCarey’s Comedy, Starring Gary Cooper, Ann Sheridan

In Leo McCarey’s comedy, Good Sam, Cary Cooper is well cast in the titular role, Sam Clayton, a good Samaritan who enjoys the love and respect of his neighbors and town’s residents.

Good Sam
Good Sam FilmPoster.jpeg

However, his very wife Lu (Ann Sheridan) calls him a soft touch.  The reason: Sam loans a neighbor his car and ends up paying the garage bill and asking the repairman to dinner.  He hen lends money that he and Lu were saving for a new home to a young couple, so that they can buy a business and raise their new baby.

Sam even takes on Lu’s brother Claude, a no-good, lazy man who won’t work once Sam gets him a job.  Moreover, Sam is the one who prevents Shirley Mae, a sassy salesgirl working in the store in which Sam is General Manager, from committing suicide.

Problem is, when Sam himself needs money, there is no one he can rely on–no one offers any aid, let alone cash.  Disgusted, he goes on a binge and ends up in a rescue mission.  In the end, almost belatedly, Sam’s friends rally around him, and he is elevated to the position of the store’s vice president, which gains him his wife’s respect.


Gary Cooper (Sam Clayton)

Ann Sheridan (Lu Clayton)

Ray Collins (Reverend Daniels)

Edmund Lowe (H.C. Borden)

Joan Lorring (Shirley Mae)

Clinton Sundberg (Nelson)

Minerva Urecal (Mrs. Nelson)

Louise Beavers (Chloe)

Dick Ross (Claude)

Lora Lee Michel (Lulu)

Bobby Dolan, Jr. (Butch)

Matt Moore (Mr. Butler)

Netta Packer (Mrs. Butler)

Ruth Roman (Ruthie)

Carol Stevens (Mrs. Adams)

Todd Karns (Joe Adams)

Irving Bacon (Tramp)

William Frawley (Tom)

Harry Hayden (Banker)


Rainbow Production

Released by RKO-Radio Pictures, Inc.

Produced and directed by Leo McCarey.

Scenario: Ken Englund, based on a story by Leo McCarey and John Klorer.

Camera: George Barnes.

Editor: James McKay.

Musical Score: Robert Emmett Dolan.

Art Director: John B. Goodman.

Special Effects: Russell A. Cully.

Assistant Director: Jesse Hibbs.

Sound Recorders: John L. Cass, Clem Portman.

Release date: September 1, 1948
Running time: 130 minutes (original release); 114 minutes (reissue)
Box office: $2,950,000 (US rentals)