AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Girl and the Gambler
Alternate Title: The Dove
Director: Lew Landers (Dir)
Release Date:   16 Jun 1939
Production Date:   6 Apr--25 Apr 1939
Duration (in mins):   62
Duration (in feet):   5,660
Duration (in reels):   7
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Cast:   Leo Carillo (El Rayo)  
    Tim Holt (Johnny Powell)  
    Steffi Duna (Dolores Romero "The Dove")  
    Donald MacBride (Mike Bascom)  
    Chris-Pin Martin (Pasqual)  
    Edward Raquello (Rodolfo)  
    Paul Fix (Charlie)  
    Julian Rivero (Pedro)  
    Frank Puglia (Gomez)  
    Esther Muir (Madge)  
    Paul Sutton (Manuelo)  
    Charles Stevens (Andres)  
    Frank Lackteen (Tomaso)  

Summary: El Rayo, a bandit known as the Mexican Robin Hood, wagers with Rodolfo, a member of his gang, that he can win the heart of the lovely cabaret dancer Dolores Romero, known as "The Dove". A condition of the bet is that El Rayo cannot divulge his identity as the famous bandit, and consequently, he masquerades as José Maria Lopez y Tostado, the brother of a wealthy landowner. Accompanied by his friend, Pasqual, El Rayo rides to the Purple Pigeon Cafe where the Dove performs. At the cafe, the boisterous El Rayo demands that The Dove entertain him, and the cafe owner, Mike Bascom, orders the defenseless dancer to comply with the señor's wishes. In desperation, The Dove turns to Johnny Powell, the young dice dealer at the casino, for help. In their plight, Johnny and The Dove discover that they love each other and plan to meet at midnight to elope across the border. As midnight approaches, however, Johnny accuses Charlie, one of the dice players, of cheating, and in the ensuing shootout, Johnny kills Charlie. As a result, Johnny is jailed for murder, and El Rayo warns The Dove that a lynch mob will hang him before morning. El Rayo promises to help Johnny escape across the border on condition that The Dove spend the night with him, and to save her lover, The Dove agrees. To create a diversion, El Rayo arranges for his men to rob Bascom's cafe, and in the confusion, the bandits break Johnny out of jail and escort him across the border. The next day, as El Rayo prepares to depart with his prize, Johnny returns for The Dove. When Rodolfo appears and explains the terms of the debt to The Dove, she feigns love for El Rayo, and having saved face, the bandit releases her to marry Johnny. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Lew Landers (Dir)
  James Anderson (Asst dir)
Producer: Cliff Reid (Prod)
  Lee Marcus (Prod exec)
Writer: Joseph A. Fields (Scr)
  Clarence Upson Young (Scr)
Photography: Russell Metty (Photog)
  J. Roy Hunt (Photog)
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase (Art dir)
  Albert D'Agostino (Art dir assoc)
Film Editor: Desmond Marquette (Ed)
Costumes: Renie (Cost)
Music: Roy Webb (Mus dir)
Country: United States

Music:
Songs: "La gunga timbalero" and "Mi ultimo adios," words and music by Aaron Gonzales.
Composer: Aaron Gonzales
Source Text: Based on the play The Dove by Willard Mack (New York, 11 Feb 1925), which was based on the short story "The Blue Ribbon" by Gerald Beaumont in Red Book Magazine (Jan 1923).
Authors: Gerald Beaumont
  Willard Mack

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 16/6/1939 dd/mm/yyyy LP8957

PCA NO: 5295
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Victor System

 
Genre: Western
  Western
  Comedy-drama
 
Subjects (Major): Bandits
  Impersonation and imposture
  Mexicans
  Romance
  Wagers
 
Subjects (Minor): Cafés
  Cheating
  Dancers
  False accusations
  Gamblers
  Gunfights
  Jailbreaks
  Mexican-American border region

Note: The working title of this picture was The Dove . In 1928, United Artists released a version of Willard Mack's play entitled The Dove , directed by Roland West and starring Norma Talmadge, Noah Beery and Gilbert Roland (see entry above). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   2 Jun 39   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Apr 39   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Apr 39   pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Apr 39   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Jun 39   p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily   7 Jun 39   p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald   29 Apr 39   p. 40.
Motion Picture Herald   10 Jun 39   p. 32.
New York Times   28 Jun 39   p. 17.
Variety   7 Jun 39   p. 12.

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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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