Cary Grant stars as a gambling boss who leaves New York after getting acquitted by a jury. He intends to turn over a new leaf, especially when he falls in love with a charming woman (Benita Hume) on a cross-country train ride to California. But once they arrive at their mutual destination, Grant gets roped back into dirty business. Matters get even more complicated when he discovers his new girlfriend isn’t angel-white herself.
Grant and Hume are both good in Gambling Ship, but their romance is far from unforgettable. The film works better when the characters have breathing room, a commodity in short supply after the midpoint, when the movie becomes a rote gangster flick with few surprises. Roscoe Karns gives some levity to the overly serious supporting cast as a gambling henchman who never loses his sense of humor.
Gambling Ship isn’t a terrible movie, it just isn’t terribly memorable. It’s likely to appeal only to Cary Grant’s biggest fans. It offers a rare ‘tough guy’ performance from the actor, whose famous persona wouldn’t come into full bloom until several years later, with films like Holiday and Gunga Din.
With Jack La Rue and Glenda Farrell.