The Tragic Movie Born To Gamble
Born to gamble is a depressing and sobering look at the downfall of a family addicted to gambling. It was released in 1935 and considered quite an epic at the time with a running time of 63 minutes. It was produced by Liberty Pictures and distributed by Republic Pictures. It was written by Edgar Wallace and based on his novel The Green Poropoulos. Wallace is known as one of the most prolific writers of the time, with his publishers remarking that a quarter of all books read in Britain at the time were written by Wallace. He is most notably remembered for creating the character, King Kong. His writing covered many genres from action to science fiction to romance, with this film being considered some of his most dramatic work.
The Film Director
Phil Rosen is credit with over 140 films before his death in 1951. Born in 1915, Phil Rosen was at the heyday of film and as such he is highly regarded for his pioneering work in film. His last film, The Secret Of St Ives, was based on the book, St Ives, by Robert Louis Stevenson. Phil Rosen is also credited as being the founder of the American Society of Cinematographers.
The Acclaimed Cast
The film starts off with Onslow Stevens , playing Henry Matthews. He opens the film by telling the story of his cursed family. They are all gambling addicts in trying to make ends meet. Between the highs of their wins and the crushing lows when they lose everything, they barely keep it together. Soon Alcohol and troubled relationships make things worse and their lives soon fall apart. Only he, Henry Matthews could pull himself free from the chains of gambling addiction. His family consists of Carter Mathews, played by HB Warner, who famously played Jesus Christ in the iconic silent film King of Kings. William Janney plays Fred Matthews and would go on to star in Hoppalong Cassidy Return. Eric Linden features as the younger Earl Mathews and would go on to appear in Gone With The Wind, eventually he earned a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
Lois Wilson plays the sister to the boys, Paula Mathews; she was a silent film star and was chosen to represent the motion picture industry at the British Empire Exposition in 1924. Her final role was in The Girl From Jones Beach with Ronal Reagan. She also featured in the 1926 adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Ben Alexander is the youngest brother, Paul Mathews. Alexander started as a child actor in 1916 and went on to become most know for his role in the Dragnet television and movie series as Officer Frank Smith.
The Supporting Cast
The rest of the supporting cast consists of Lucien Prival as Al Schultz and Maxine Doyle as Cora Strickland. Maxine Doyle featured in over 40 films in her career, most notable the 1937 feature, S.O.S Coast Guard. Lucien Prival himself appeared in over 70 films during his career. Highlights include Bride of Frankenstein, High Noon, The Sphinx, The Great Dictator, Darkest Africa and Hell’s Angels.