Any Number Can Play

Any Number Can Play is a 1949 drama film directed by Mervyn LeRoy. It is based on Edward Harris Heth's novel of the same name. It stars Clark Gable and Alexis Smith.

Any Number Can Play
Directed byMervyn LeRoy
Produced byArthur Freed
Written byEdward Harris Heth (novel)
Richard Brooks
StarringClark Gable
Alexis Smith
Music byLennie Hayton
CinematographyHarold Rosson
Edited byRalph E. Winters
Release date
  • July 15, 1949 (1949-07-15)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,205,000[1]


Casino owner Charley Enley Kyng (Clark Gable) is advised by his physician to slow down, after being diagnosed with angina pectoris, a heart disease. Charley supports his own family as well as his wife's sister, Alice (Audrey Totter) and her husband, Robbin (Wendell Corey). Charley quits drinking and smoking and vows to spend more time with his wife and son.

Brother-in-law Robbin, a dealer at Charley's casino, cannot pay a $2,000 gambling debt he owes to a gangster, who sends his goons Lew Debretti (Richard Rober) and Frank Sistina (William Conrad) after him. The dealer uses loaded dice to let them win at craps. Charley's son Paul (Darryl Hickman) expresses shame about his father's line of work to his mother, Lon (Alexis Smith). Charley tries to take his son on a fishing trip in the mountains, but the boy refuses. A dissatisfied couple, Mr. and Mrs. Lorgan, claim they have lost their entire savings at his casino and demand their money back. Charley does not agree, and Lon feels bad about the way they make their living.

Charley is depressed by the breakdown of his personal life, but still rejects a proposition from a woman working at the casino, Ada (Mary Astor). Paul gets into a brawl at the prom because of his father's business and is arrested. Charley gets his son out of jail, but Paul will not speak with him.

Paul follows his mother in the evening to the casino. A big-time gambler named Jim Kurstyn (Frank Morgan) is about to win enough to bankrupt the whole casino. Committed to fairness, Charley refuses to shut the game down and lets the man bet as much as he wants. As Jim eventually loses all his winnings, the gangster's goons try to rob the place. With the help of his son and supportive regulars, Charley manages to overpower the goons. Father and son reconcile and the family's happiness is restored. Charley then wagers against his casino staff for the entire casino operation. They draw cards; Charley loses by concealing his winning card. Charley, Lon and Paul walk happily away arm in arm.



According to MGM records the film earned $2,466,000 in the US and Canada and $739,000 overseas resulting in a profit of $763,000.[1][2]


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. "Top Grossers of 1949". Variety. 4 January 1950. p. 59.
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