40 pound of trouble is a 1962 film starring Tony Curtis, Suzanne Pleshette, Larry Storch and Howard Morris. It also features a special appearance by Phil Silvers. As part of a promotional endeavor, the film was shot on location at Lake Tahoe and inside the Disneyland park.
The studio wished to combine the endearing theme of the original film, Little Miss Marker, with the renowned theme park.
This film is noteworthy for marking the directorial debut of Norman Jewison who would go on to become one of the most acclaimed directors of our generation with films like The Thomas Crown Affair, Fiddler On The Roof, Jesus Christ Superstar, Moonstruck and most recently in 2003, The Statement.
40 Pounds Of Trouble is a retelling of the film, Little Miss Marker, the film that shot a young Shirley Temple to fame. That film in turn was based on a short story, also titled Little Miss Marker, written by renowned writer Damon Runyon.
Runyon is known for trade marking the mannerism and speech of the 1930’s New Yorkers which is where the original takes places.
The Legacy of the Film
40 Pounds Of Trouble isn’t the only remake of Little Miss Marker, in 1949, Bob Hope and Lucille Ball starred in Sorrowful Jones, named after the bookmaker who helps take care of Marky and who was the focus of this film. In 1980 an all star cast was put together for another remake, titled Little Miss Marker.
The film starred Walter Matthau, Julie Andrews, Bob Newhart, Lee Grant, Tony Curtis and Brian Denney .
In 1998 the original Little Miss Marker starring Shirley Temple was inducted into the United States National Film Registry for being culturally significant.
The Plot of the Film
The film revolves around Steve McClusky, played by Tony Curtis, who works as the manager of a Casino. His day is ruined when a gambler, looking for more cash to gamble with, leaves his 7 year old daughter in a hotel room and ends up being killed in a car crash.
Steve finds her and needs to break the news to her. He is accompanied by his girlfriend, Chris Lockwood, played by Suzanne Pleshette. They ask the little girl what she wants to do now and she replies “I want to go to Disneyland”.
The Emotional Climax
And so the film kicks off with Steve and his girlfriend taking the young girl on the trip of a lifetime through Disneyland. Unlike the original, this film focuses more on the Casino manager, Steve. His relationship with Chris continues to grow and further hi jinx ensues when his ex wife becomes involved. The final courtroom scene is really the showstopper.
Steve is arrested eventually for kidnapping , since he simply took the orphaned girl and whisked her off to Disneyland without letting her family or the police know what’s going on, furthermore his ex wife is after alimony payments . In the final scene, Claire Wilcox as Marky, the little girl, gives a heartwarming ode to the goodness of Steve and it gets him off the hook.
The film also features a guest performance by the legendary comedian, Phil Silvers, known as “The King Of Chutzpa” as well as for his various comedic television and film performances. He features as the supposedly terrifying Bernie “The Butcher” Friedman.