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directed by Michael Gordon
USA 1949

"Once she was someone's wife... now she's just someone's luck!" First seen getting roughed up in an alley for gambling with loaded dice, Barbara Stanwyck (DOUBLE INDEMNITY) is Joan Booth, newly wed and on her honeymoon in Las Vegas while her husband David (Robert Preston, THIS GUN FOR HIRE) works on a story about the new dam. A former writer hoping to pitch a story about gambling to a magazine back in Chicago, Joan is caught taking candid photographs with a concealed camera. Surprisingly, casino owner Corrigan (NO WAY OUT's Stephen McNally, whose real given name is Horace as his character in the film is embarrassed to admit) - agrees to let her take photographs and gives her some of the house chips to take a spin at the wheel. With her husband retiring early each night for work in the morning, Joan spends more and more time on the casino floor, briefly enjoying her reputation with other regulars as a lady luck. When Joan's luck turns and a spurned Corrigan no longer allows her to play with the house money, she dips into the money Paul has left in the hotel safe. Pawning her camera, Joan is able to win the money back and get it out of her system; but the sudden arrival of her possessive older sister Ruth (Edith Barrett, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE) requires her to stay on in Vegas as her husband starts his drive back cross country. When Paul discovers a broke and depressed Joan, he hands in his story, resigns, and whisks her off to Mexico and a secluded house on the beach with the goal of writing a book; but their happiness is short-lived when Joan runs into a couple (THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER's Don Beddoe and HANGMEN ALSO DIE's Nana Bryant) from Vegas who point her towards an illegal operation behind the local hotel. Upon discovering that Joan has lost all of their savings, he splits his remaining cash between them and heads back to Chicago in search of a job hoping that she will follow him. Of course, Joan has to pass through Vegas on the bus to Chicago and ends up approaching Corrigan about a job to make back David's money. Corrigan, however, is pulling out of Vegas and instead offers to make Joan the front for a horse racing operation. With a weekly allowance of money to play with as the owner of a stable, Joan slips back into her old ways and is regarded by Corrigan's cohorts as "worse than a lush" whose compulsive behavior could prove deadly if she cannot keep herself away from the track during a fateful race. The story is told in flashback by David to Joan's doctor (John Hoyt, BLACKBOARD JUNGLE) with more anguish to come in the climax as they try to get at the root of Joan's addiction. A young Tony Curtis (THE BOSTON STRANGLER) has a single scene as a bell boy. Photographed by Russell Metty (TOUCH OF EVIL) and scored by Frank Skinner (THE DARK MIRROR).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 20 May 1949 (USA)

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DVD Comparison:

Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL vs. Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas and Gregory Meshman for the DVD Screen Caps!

(Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

   

 

    

Distribution

Simply Media

Region 2 - PAL

Universal Studios
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:34:39 (4% PAL speedup) 1:38:39
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.84 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.23 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Simply Media

 

Bitrate:

Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection)

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Subtitles None English SDH, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Simply Media

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
� none

DVD Release Date: June 6th 2016
Amaray

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
� 6 films on 3 discs

 

DVD Release Date: April 27th 2010
3 discs in a digipack

Chapters 18

 

 

 

Comments

ADDED 3-disc Barbara Stanwyck Collection: June 2016: Simply Media's new release of The Lady Gambles compelled me to pull up the 3-disc Barbara Stanwyck Collection, released by Universal in 2010, to see how they compare. In the set, the film shares dual-layered disc with screwball comedy The Bride Wore Boots (1946). The transfers are compatible with same faint marks that helped me match exact frames for captures 1 and 7, but NTSC image looks softer. PAL specification adds a sliver of information to the sides, but the difference is minuscule. Region 1 disc is without PAL speedup and also features English SDH subtitles. Like many other Universal sets, all films in Barbara Stanwyck Collection were released on made-in-demand discs, including this one, but the 6-film collection is a better purchase, especially at the discounted price.

 - Gregory Meshman

Available stateside only in the three disc THE BARBARA STANWYCK COLLECTION, THE LADY GAMBLES is one of seven Universal titles Simply Media is releasing in June on DVD for the first time in the UK. The barebones, non-anamorphic fullscreen presentation is in line with what we have come to expect of the studio film noirs, and there are no complaints about the single-layer encode or the Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track. There are no extras.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus


(Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

 


Subtitle Sample - Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

 

 

 

Screen Captures

(Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Simply Media (slightly)

Sound:

Universal (no PAL speedup)

Extras: Universal (total of 6 films in boxset)
 

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

   

 

    

Distribution

Simply Media

Region 2 - PAL

Universal Studios
Region 1 - NTSC




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