This week, the theme for Wanderer's Thursday Movie Picks Meme is gambling. I wouldn't exactly call myself much of a gambler. For one thing, I'm not very good at it. Whenever I play Fallout: New Vegas, and enter one of the Casinos, I pretty much always end up losing my money because I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm not very good at Blackjack and I can't for the life of me understand the rules of Poker. In other words, it's probably for the better that I don't spend much time at actual casinos trying to win money, because I'm really really bad at it.
Unfortunately, it seems I really need to work on seeing more gambling films. It was hard to find good ones. For this list, I'm not going to worry too much about how I feel with any particular film, instead focusing entirely on gambling films I've actually seen. At the very least, I figure I can get a few different types of gambling to show here.
A Day at the Races (1937)
This was the second film the Marx Brothers did after transferring to a new studio, as well as their second film without Zeppo (Allan Jones returns from A Night at the Opera to fill that role). The story is definitely a strange one, involving a misunderstanding that results in a veterinarian being placed in charge of a sanitarium and finding the local race track as the only shot at saving it. Naturally, it all revolves around placing money on the right horse, complete with a few attempts to rig the race. There's also a classic scene in which Chico attempts to extort gambling money out of Groucho by selling him a large pile of books.
Force of Evil (1948)
This 1948 thriller revolves heavily around something called a "numbers racket." I was never able to get a clear description of exactly what that entails, beyond being an illegal gambling operation that was common in the 1940's.
Casino Royale (2006)
It's hard to argue against the themes of gambling which present themselves in Daniel Craig's first entry to the Bond Franchise. In fact, I made an entire post detailing how the film is very much related to the dangers of gambling both literally (a large portion of the film revolves around a high stakes poker game) and figuratively (everyone in the cast is forced to make difficult decisions and take extreme risks in the hope of a great reward). Even the movie's title draws attention to its themes of gambling, as do the opening credits that make heavy use of playing card-related imagery.