AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Smart Money
Director: Alfred E. Green (Dir)
Release Date:   11 Jul 1931
Duration (in mins):   67 or 81
Duration (in reels):   9
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Cast:   Edward G. Robinson (Nick Venezelos)  
    James Cagney (Jack)  
    Evalyn Knapp (Irene)  
    Ralf Harolde (Sleepy Sam)  
    Noel Francis (Marie)  
    Margaret Livingston (Blonde)  
    Maurice Black (Greek barber)  
    William House (Salesman)  
    Paul Porcasi (Mr. Amenoppopolus)  
    Gladys Lloyd (Cigar stand clerk)  
    Polly Walters (Lola)  
    Boris Karloff (Sport Williams)  
    Morgan Wallace (District Attorney)  
    Clark Burroughs (Schultz)  
    Edwin Argus (Two-Time Phil)  
    Mae Madison (Small time girl)  
    Walter Percival (Dealer Barnes)  
    John Larkin (Snake Eyes)  
    Ben Taggart (Hickory Short)  
    Billy House (Salesman gambler)  
    Charles Lane (Desk clerk)  
    Edward Hearn (Reporter)  
    Eddie Kane (Tom)  
    Clinton Rosemond (George)  
    Eulalie Jensen (Matron)  
    Wallace MacDonald (Cigar stand clerk)  
    Charles O'Malley (Machine-gunner)  
    Gus Leonard (Joe)  
    John George (Dwarf on train)  
    Larry McGrath    
    Spencer Bell    

Summary: Nick Venezelos, a Greek barber in a small town, is a lucky gambler who has a weakness for blondes. He has such a lucky reputation that his customers pool their resources to send him to a big poker game in the city. There, he is taken in by crooked gamblers and a deceptive blonde and loses his bankroll. He returns to barbering until he acquires a new bankroll. With the new money, he defeats the crooks, and soon his barber shop is a front for a successful gambling club. Despite the fact that he runs an honest game, the district attorney decides to put him out of business. After forcing Irene, a young woman befriended by Nick after she tried to commit suicide, to frame him in order to avoid being arrested for blackmail herself, the police arrest Nick. Prior to the arrest, Jack, Nick's friend from home, accuses Irene of framing Nick, and during the following fight, Nick accidentally kills Jack. The district attorney sends Nick to jail for manslaughter, but Nick, who is never down for long, bets the reporters that he will be out of jail before his sentence is up. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
  The Vitaphone Corp.  
Director: Alfred E. Green (Dir)
Writer: Kubec Glasmon (Scr, story and dial)
  John Bright (Scr, story and dial)
  Lucien Hubbard (Scr, story and dial)
  Joseph Jackson (Scr, story and dial)
Photography: Robert Kurrle (Photog)
Art Direction: Robert Haas (Art dir)
Film Editor: Jack Killifer (Ed)
Costumes: Earl Luick (Gowns)
Music: Leo F. Forbstein (Vitaphone Orch cond)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 3/6/1931 dd/mm/yyyy LP2277

Physical Properties: Sd:
  b&w:

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Gangster
 
Subjects (Major): Barbers and barbershops
  Gamblers
  Greek Americans
  Luck
  Revenge
 
Subjects (Minor): Accidental death
  Attempted suicide
  Blackmail
  Cheating
  District attorneys
  Frame-ups
  Gangsters
  Manicurists
  Manslaughter
  Poker (Game)
  Police
  Trains

Note: Hubbard and Jackson received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Story. Gladys Lloyd, who played the role of the cigar stand clerk, was the wife of Edward G. Robinson from the mid-1920s through 1956. Smart Money marked the feature film debut of prominent character actor Charles Lane (1905--2007). The bespectacled, aquiline-nosed Lane, who also acted under the name Charles Levinson Lane and Charles Levison, most often played curmudgeons, appearing in more than two hundred feature films and scores of television programs. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Film Daily   21 Jun 31   p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald   16 May 31   p. 34.
New York Times   19 Jun 31   p. 21.
Variety   23 Jun 31   p. 18.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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