Cary Grant stars as a gambler with devious intentions in Mr. Lucky (1943). He plays Joe “The Greek” Bascopolous, a “boss gambler” who is double tough but gets all “crossed up” when he meets a socialite philanthropist named Dorothy Bryant (Laraine Day). More a con-artist than legitimate gambler, Bascopolous prefers to play games fixed in his favor. Grant delivers his noteworthy charm and sophistication to role of Bascopolous and ultimately earns the audience’s sympathy as and he attempts to prove himself more than a degenerate hustler and, therefore, worthy of Bryant’s affections.
Released in the middle of WWII, the war hangs over the plot like a specter of correct moral action. When Bascopolous finds the image of Uncle Sam peering over his shoulder, he shutters, rejects the country’s need for help, and elects to dodge the draft. However, when he meets Bryant and applies to work at her war relief charity, he uses his skill of deception for “good” by hustling up blankets and organizing a charity casino night. Charmed by Bascopolous’ playful support, Bryant is convinced to give him a chance, despite her father’s disapproval. The movie’s love story climaxes as Bascopolous must decide whether he truly intends to abandon his selfish motives and complete a moral conversion.
Final Grade: C