Salty O'Rourke

Salty O'Rourke is a 1945 film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Alan Ladd and Gail Russell. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1946.[2]

Salty O'Rourke
Directed byRaoul Walsh
Produced byE.D. Leshin
Written byMilton Holmes
Based onoriginal story by Milton Holmes
StarringAlan Ladd
Gail Russell
Music byRobert Emmett Dolan
CinematographyTheodor Sparkuhl
Edited byWilliam Shea
Distributed byParamount
Release date
March 22, 1945
Running time
100 mins.
CountryUnited States
Box office448,514 admissions (France)[1]


In New Orleans, racetrack gambler Salty O'Rourke is pursued by gangster Doc Baxter, after Salty's partner runs off with Baxter's $20,000 and is murdered. O'Rourke and his pal Smitty have one month to pay up.

Salty buys a race horse, Whipper, who can only be ridden by Johnny Cates, a jockey disbarred for throwing a race. Johnny pretends to be his 17-year-old brother Timothy, but is forced to attend school.

Johnny insults his teacher, Barbara Brooks, on his first day and is expelled. Salty gets Johnny back in school by befriending Barbara and her mother.

Both Johnny and Salty fall in love with Barbara but she prefers Salty. This causes Johnny to swear vengeance against Salty. He decides to throw the race but changes his mind and is shot by Baxter's henchman.



Milton Holmes wrote the original story. It envisioned as a vehicle for Clark Gable, Rosalind Russell and Mickey Rooney.[3] When Gable went off to the services the film rights were purchased by Paramount in 1942 for $28,000 who developed it as a vehicle for George Raft.[4][5]

The film eventually became a vehicle for Alan Ladd. Production plans were delayed when Ladd went into the army but were reactivated when he was honorably discharged in October 1943.[6] Ladd's costar in Lucky Jordan, Helen Walker, was originally announced as co star.[7] Adrian Scott was brought on to work on the script and René Clair to direct.[8] Irving Cummings was then meant to direct.[9]

Eventually Gail Russell became Ladd's co star and Raoul Walsh the director. Stanley Clements was cast in the third lead after impressing in Going My Way.

Filming plans were interrupted when Alan Ladd was reclassified 1A and would have to be re-inducted into the army. Paramount got a deferment to enable him to make Two Years Before the Mast and tried to get one to make Salty O'Rourke as well.[10] They succeeded and filming started in late August 1944.


  1. Box office results of Raoul Walsh films in France at Box Office Story
  3. "Looking at Hollywood" Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 2 Mar 1944: 17.
  4. By Telephone to THE NEW YORK TIMES. (1942, May 13). Metro to resume production in britain -- asher will go there to film 'sabotage agent'. New York Times Retrieved from
  5. "HOLLYWOOD'S LATEST WONDER BOY: Milton Holmes, ex-Tennis Club Owner, Clicks as A Screen Writer Salesman The Lean Years" New York Times 3 June 1945: X3.
  6. "Looking at Hollywood" Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 11 Nov 1943: 25.
  7. y Telephone to THE NEW YORK TIMES. (1942, Sep 26). SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD. New York Times Retrieved from
  8. By Telephone to The New York Times. (1942, Dec 25). RKO signs 5-picture contract with cary grant, who has right to approve vehicles. New York Times Retrieved from
  9. Schallert, E. (1943, Mar 04). DRAMA AND FILM. Los Angeles Times Retrieved from
  10. "Joyce Reynolds Set for Role in Warner Drama" Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times 18 Aug 1944: 16.
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