Charles Engle has been caught embezzling. He writes a suicide note, and goes out wandering on the town. Small-time hustler Bill O’Brian sees him give a couple of big tips, figures he’s rich, and plans to take him over to a big-time card game and fleece him. He enlists Nina Barone to help get Engle to the game. She goes along, but is more interested in O’Brien than in his schemes. Meanwhile, a perpetually drunk and none too successful playwright, Gene Gibbons, finds the suicide note. He cooks up a scheme (with the reluctant aid of O’Brien) to get the money Engle needs to pay back his employer and save his life. —IMDb
Ben Hecht, one of Hollywood & Broadway’s greatest writers, won an Oscar for best original story for Underworld (1927) at the first Academy Awards in 1929 and had a hand in the writing of many classic films. He was nominated five more times for the best writing Oscar, winning (along with writing partner and friend Charles MacArthur, with whom he wrote the classic play The Front Page) for The Scoundrel (1935) (the other nominations were for Viva Villa! (1934) in 1935, Wuthering Heights (1939) (shared with MacArthur), Angels Over Broadway (1940), and Notorious (1946). The latter two for best original screenplay. Hecht wrote fast and he wrote well, and was called upon by many producers as a highly paid script doctor. He was paid $10,000 by producer David O. Selznick for a fast doctoring of the Gone with the Wind (1939) script, for which he received no credit and for which Sidney Howard won an Oscar, beating out Hecht and MacArthur’s “Wuthering Heights” script.
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A propboy at Thomas H. Ince Studios in the mid teens, Garmes (1898-1978) became an assistant cameraman in the early ‘20s, working on numerous short comedies and several feature films. He became a director of photography by the mid ’20s, and over the next 40 years lensed films for Rex Ingram, Josef von Sternberg, Howard Hawks, King Vidor, Edmund Goulding, Alfred Hitchcock and Frank Borzage; he also shot much of Gone with the Wind, but was uncredited. Garmes was director of photography and associate director with collaborating writer/directors Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur (Crime Without Passion, The Scoundrel) and with Hecht alone (Angels Over Broadway, Actors and Sin). Garmes also co-directed The Sky’s the Limit with Jack Buchanan. —allmovie guide