Mr. Lucky (1943): Potter’s Romantic Film, Starring Cary Grant as Laraine Day

H.C. Potter directed Mr. Lucky, a romance film starring Cary Grant and Laraine Day, which depicts the attraction between a shady gambler and a wealthy socialite in the days prior to the U.S. entering World War II.

Mr. Lucky
Mr lucky poster.jpg

Film poster

Narrative Premise:

Swede (Charles Bickford), rowing up to a public dock in a dinghy, hides when he spots a young woman who walks on the pier. When a new night watchman notices her, Swede stops him from bothering her.

The sailor begins recounting her story, and the film segues into a long flashback.

Cary Grant plays Joe “the Greek” Adams, a gambler and grifter, who, along with his treacherous partner Zepp (Paul Stewart), receives draft notices to join the army.

Meanwhile, one of his underlings, Joe Bascopolous, has just died, and his status was 4F (unfit to serve), which means that one of them can dodge the draft by assuming his identity. They gamble for it and Zepp cheats, but Joe still wins; Zepp fails his physical examination anyway.

Lacking money to bankroll his gambling ship, he talks the head of the local War Relief organization, Captain Veronica Steadman (Gladys Cooper), into authorizing him to run a “charity” casino, promising to raise money to outfit a relief ship, despite the suspicions of her lieutenant, the wealthy socialite Dorothy Bryant (Laraine Day).

Credits:

Directed by H.C. Potter
Produced by David Hempstead
Screenplay by Milton Holmes and Adrian Scott, based on Bundles for Freedom
1942 story in Cosmopolitan by Milton Holmes
Music by Roy Webb
Cinematography George Barnes
Edited by Theron Warth

Production and distribution: RKO Radio Pictures

Release date: May 28, 1943 (US)[ August 21, 1943 (UK)

Running time: 100 min.
Box office $2,673,000 (US rentals)