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The House on 56th Street

(1933 b 69')

En: 5 Ed: 5

A woman becomes a professional gambler after spending time in prison and losing her husband; she tries to save her daughter from gambling.

Lindon Fiske (John Halliday) and Monte Van Tyle (Gene Raymond) watch Peggy (Kay Francis) in the 1905 Follies many times. Peggy goes out with Lindon but agrees to marry Monte. Lindon says he will always love her but is not the marrying kind. Peggy and Monte go to Paris and Venice, and he asks her to stop gambling. In New York they live in a new house on 56th Street. Monte's mother (Nella Walker) visits them after a girl Eleanor is born. At Mrs. Tyle's Peggy meets Lindon again. He missed her and asks her to visit after his operation. Lindon regrets he did not marry her, and Peggy says good-bye. When he grabs a gun, she tries to stop his suicide; but she is convicted of manslaughter. Monte visits Peggy in jail, and she asks him not to tell Eleanor.

In prison Peggy plays solitaire and learns that Monte was killed in the war. In 1925 she is released. Attorney Baxter (Henry O'Neill) tells Peggy that Mrs. Tyne left her $5,000, expecting her not to contact Eleanor, who thinks she died. On an ocean-liner Peggy meets professional gambler Bill Blaine (Ricardo Cortez). He uses glasses to read marked cards, but she wins. Peggy throws away his I.O.U, and they agree to work together.

After two years they celebrate their partnership, and Bill tells Peggy that he loves her. Peggy reads in the paper that her daughter Eleanor (Margaret Lindsay) was married. Bill asks Peggy to deal blackjack in a speakeasy that is in her old house on 56th St. Eleanor says that her husband would divorce her if she gambled, but Freddy (Philip Reed) persuades her to gamble with his chips. Peggy recognizes her daughter, who wins $1,000. Peggy wants to stop, but Bill tells her to win it back. Peggy causes Eleanor to lose $5,000 to teach her a lesson; but Eleanor won't stop and loses $15,000. Peggy asks Bill to tear up her I.O.U.s; but owner Bonelli (William Boyd) won't agree. Eleanor asks Bill for six months; but he calls her husband. Peggy hears a shot and sees that Eleanor killed Bill. Peggy tells Eleanor to wait outside while she takes the I.O.U.s and wipes off fingerprints. Eleanor says that her mother killed a man and went to prison. Peggy tells Eleanor to leave. Peggy deals, and Bonelli finds Bill dead. Peggy says that she did it and tells how. Bonelli says that he will take care of Bill's body and that she must stay there working for him. Peggy recalls how she told Monte she hoped to live there all her life.

This melodrama shows the dangers of gambling even if one learns how to win by cheating.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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