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Little Miss Marker

(1934 b 79')

En: 6 Ed: 6

In this Damon Runyon story a little girl is left as a marker with a bookie and becomes the owner of a horse for a fixed race; but her sweetness helps reform the gamblers.

Steve (Charles Bickford) tells bookmakers to pay him $1,000 each, because his horse Dream Prince will lose without a speed-ball drug. Sorrowful Jones (Adolphe Menjou) takes no I.O.U. markers except Marthy Jane (Shirley Temple) and $50 from two boxers. Marthy goes to the cabaret, where gamblers bet on her weight. Jones wins the pool and takes her home, saying he is playing sucker. Steve gives Jones jewelry for $10,000 to bet on Dream Prince with a speed-ball the doctor says will kill him. News is that Steve is suspended, and the father who left Marthy as a marker committed suicide. Jones loans Steve the money if he'll bet half for him. Jones makes Marthy the owner of Dream Prince. Steve goes to Chicago to make the bets.

Jones got a new apartment and tells the police he hasn't seen the kid. He plays poker and tells Marthy to go to bed. Marthy cries, and he reads the racing news to her. Bangles Carson (Dorothy Dell) sings "Go To Sleep" to Marthy and falls asleep until morning. She orders clothes for Marthy, and Jones pays for them although he doesn't admit it to Bangles. Marthy and Bangles sing "Look at the Sunny Side." Bangles gives Jones a book to read Marthy about Arthur's knights. Jones assures Marthy there is somebody named God and shows her how to pray.

Drunk Regret tells Bangles that Jones paid for the clothes, and Jones arrives in a new suit. The police want to check his apartment for the kid; so Bangles puts Marthy to bed in her place, though she says she is "going sappy." Jones tells Bangles he is crazy about her and kisses her. Bangles says she is Steve's girl. Bangles teaches Marthy manners. Steve gets a telegram and packs his bags to leave Chicago. Bangles tells Jones that Marthy has become a mug. So Bangles organizes knights for Marthy around a horse-shoe table. Jones has the horse, Marthy's charger, brought in, and Marthy calls Jones Galahad. The knights sing "East Side West Side." When Bangles learns Dream Prince is going to be injected and die in order to win, she calls Jones cheap. Steve comes in and causes Marthy to fall off the horse. A doctor says Marthy is critical, but they get the best surgeon to leave his wedding. Marthy needs a transfusion, and they look for blood donors; but none matches except Steve's. Jones prays and destroys the speed-ball drug. Marthy revives and will live, because Steve has good blood, while Jones and Bangles hope to settle down with Marthy.

Tough gamblers are contrasted to the innocence and charm of a child, while Bangles tries to keep Marthy from becoming hardened. Jones prays to save Marthy and has the grace to give up his crooked plan.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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