AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Aces and Eights
Director: Sam Newfield (Dir)
Release Date:   6 Jun 1936
Duration (in mins):   62
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Cast:   Tim McCoy (Gentleman Tim Madigan[/Wild Bill Hickok])  
    Luana Walters (Juanita Hernandez)  
    Rex Lease (Jose Hernandez)  
    Wheeler Oakman (Ace Morgan)  
    Frank Glendon (Amos Harden)  
    Charles Stevens (Captain [Felipe] de Lopez)  
    Earl Hodgins (Marshal)  
    Jimmy Aubrey (Lucky)  
    Joseph Girard (Don Juillo Hernandez)  
    John Merton (Gambler)  

Summary: In a prologue, Wild Bill Hickok is assassinated during a poker game in which he holds two pair, aces and eights, which comes to be known in the West as the "death hand." Gentleman gambler Tim Madigan is then introduced as Hickok's successor. During a poker game, Madigan, a notorious cardsharp who does not carry a gun, accuses a fellow professional of cheating. Overhearing Madigan's accusation, Jose Hernandez, a young Spaniard who had earlier lost heavily to the gambler, pulls his gun on the man, demanding his money. Although Madigan is nowhere in sight when the gambler is killed by a bullet emanating from a nearby tree, the marshal assumes Madigan's guilt and goes after him. They meet at the state border, but Madigan outwits the marshal and crosses into freedom. Once in Roaring Gulch, California, Madigan meets Jose, who offers his father's hacienda as a resting-place. There Madigan discovers that Don Juillo and his daughter Juanita are in danger of losing their property to gambler Ace Morgan and Amos Harden, the owner of the Gold Dollar saloon. By extending credit to Jose, they are plotting to drive Don Juillo into debt. Although Madigan has renounced gambling, he "borrows" the gold from the Hernandez coupa d'ore and wins the Gold Dollar from Harden with a hand of aces and eights, forcing him to relinquish Jose's debts. Morgan tries to take the ranch by force, but Madigan arrives with the money. They are fighting when the marshal arrives and proves that it was a bullet from Morgan's gun that killed the gambler. Finally, Madigan and Jose are cleared, Lucky, Madigan's sidekick, takes over the saloon, and the ranch is restored to the family. 

Production Company: Excelsior Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: State Rights  
  Puritan Pictures Corp.  
Director: Sam Newfield (Dir)
  William O'Connor (Asst dir)
Producer: Sam Newfield (Prod)
  Leslie Simmonds (Prod)
Writer: Arthur Durlam (Orig story and cont)
  Joseph O'Donnell (Story ed)
Photography: Jack Greenhalgh (Photog)
Film Editor: Jack English (Film ed)
Sound: Hans Weeren (Sd rec)
Country: United States

PCA NO: 2116
Physical Properties: Sd:
  b&w:

 
Genre: Western
 
Subjects (Major): Cardsharping
  Hispanic Americans
  Murder
  Poker (Game)
  Ranchers
  Saloon keepers
  Spaniards
 
Subjects (Minor): California
  Debt
  False accusations
  Haciendas
  Sheriffs
  Wild Bill Hickok

Note: Press materials, reviews, and the 1937 FDYB erroneously credit George Stevens with the role of "Captain Felipe" instead of Charles Stevens. Modern sources add the following credits to the cast: Frank Ellis ( Deputy ), Jack Evans and Tom Smith ( Spectators ), Fred Parker ( Gambler ), Karl Hackett, Jack Kirk, Oscar Gahan, Milburn Morante, Artie Ortego, Clyde McClary and Robert Walker. Frank Glendon is listed as J. Frank Glendon in modern sources. For information about the real Wild Bill Hickok, please see the entry below for The Plainsman

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
The Exhibitor   1 Jul 1936.   
Film Daily   8 Aug 1936 p. 3.   
Motion Picture Herald   22 Aug 36   p. 51.
Variety   12 Aug 36   p. 19.

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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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