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  • Or..."Post Time for Topper". You won't see Ward, Wally or The Beaver. But you DO get to see Barbara Billingsly (June) as the fall guy's secretary. AND Carl (Alfalfa) Switzer as his younger daughter's dizzy boyfriend. This is the story of an honest, widowed family man and bank officer who becomes addicted to off track horse betting, loses large sums of money, and is lured deeper into the abyss by his bookie's vampish courier, played by Marie Windsor-----Filmland's best, sexiest, and probably most prolific villainess.

    The rare contrast of authentic noir and sappy "back at the homestead" scenes provides for some unintentional humor, giving the movie the flavor of a high school dope-scare film from the 60s. However, this film isn't in the "so bad it's good" category. The performances and scripting are top notch, even though some of the melodramatic plot elements are quite implausible and even a bit ridiculous. Nevertheless, the film is effectively paced and truly suspenseful. Plenty of thrills....and a few giggles.

    Highly entertaining
  • Handlinghandel13 July 2009
    Watching a mediocre print of this movie was like seeing "Detour" for the first time. The movie has a terrible, pedestrian title. The stars don't promise much. Well, of course Marie Windsor is always good and Steve Brodie is a noir staple. But John Litel, as the central figure -- which he is? It's the very suspenseful story of a decent guy getting dragged down into a whirlpool of crime and deceit.

    Litel is what today would be called a middle-manager. He has an OK job and works hard. He has two daughters in their late teens, whom he adores. He lavishes everything he can afford on them. And, it turns out, more than he can afford.

    Urged to bet a horse to show at the races, he slowly gets bitten by the gambling bug. From small bets he moves on to a bookie. And who does the bookie send to collect his money but -- Marie Windsor.

    Far be it from me to say exactly what role her character plays in the story. She looks great, as always. This is all I'm saying. But the Litel character is very likable. The money he wants to win is truly only to continue pampering his daughters. And seeing his decline is painful. (And its shocking.)

    Though the film seems to have been made on a very low budget, its plot and character development are nuanced. I'm eager to see it again.
  • **SPOILERS** Tragic story despite it's very contrived feel-good ending about a kind and caring man who never gambled in his life who gets caught up with the evils of uncontrolled and compulsive horse betting. This addiction leads him to embezzle the bank that he was employed at as the comptroller of some $16,000.00. Later he ends up killing two con artists in a gunfight that ended up with him getting fatally shot. It was the con artists who took advantage of his desperate situation and ripped him off of another $20,000.00 that he stole from the comptroller safe.

    The story of John Hewitt, John Litel, is like that of many sick and degenerate gamblers who end up not only destroying themselves but their family and friends as well by trying to make a quick buck at the racetrack casino or with their bookie. Widowed with two sweet teenage daughters that he would do anything for John worked in charge of the credit department in the biggest bank in Langsford and was a very respected man and pillar of the community.

    One afternoon John was invited by some of his friends to Langsford's Grandview Racetrack where for the first time in his life he made a bet at the urging of his brother-in-law George, Don Shelton and ended up winning some $200.00 betting on jockey Eddie Osborne. With John winning over $500.00 the next few days on his bets on horses rode by Osborne his luck changes when the jockey falls in a bad spill at the track. Betting other jockeys John ends up losing all his winnings as well as his life's saving and $14,000.00 of the banks money that he embezzled.

    With John later being promoted to bank comptroller which will triple his salary his books were about to be audited and him possibly being indited for grand larceny for the $14,000.00 he stole from the comptroller safe. John then sees redemption of his criminal deed in the sports pages in that Eddie Osborne was back at the races and he was riding on the horse Great Day at the opening day feature, The Boyue Handicap,at the Bolraguard Racetrack in New Orleans.

    With his bookie not taking a $2,000.00 bet on Great Day to win John flies down to New Orleans to bet the horse himself. It turns out that Great Day wins the race but is disqualified for impeding the placing horse, Conservasion, and put second with John losing all the money,$2,000.00, he bet on him.

    Completely financially destroyed and possible facing prison there's still one more surprise thats awaiting John and it has to do with his bookies go-between Mary Slate, Marie Windson, and her boyfriend Rick, Steve Brodie. The two got the emotionally unstable John into a betting sting where he was induced to steal another $20,000.00 from his bank to put on a "sure thing" at the racetrack.

    John gets the jump on both Mary and Rick when he calls the sport phone and finds out that the horse that he bet, Rickety Racks, was scratched from the race. When he called Rick's hotel room, to get the $20,000.00 back, he found out that he checked out and later that Mary also quit her job with John's bookie. Getting to Mary's apartment before she and Rick take off for Acapulco to get his $20,000.00 from the fleeing con artists there's a shoot-out with both Mary and Rick shot and killed and John fatally wounded. It's then that John drives,dying,to the house of his good friend and Langsford Bank president Charlston P. Adams,Robert Sherwood, and confesses the truth about what he did. Adams then promise's him that it would be a secret between both of them and that he'll tell the police that John was shot by a pair of crooks who robbed him of the bank money and with that the movie ends.

    "Two Dollar Bettor" shows just how far the men, as well as women, who are hooked on gambling would go to not only win but break even for what they've lost at the racetrack.
  • And The Agony of Defeat. I've been an avid horse player for the last forty years and this film is an old style but truly realistic portrayal of what can happen to an addictive personality coupled with a big win the first time a man places money on a horse. It can work for any type of gambling but using horses as the money pit gives that little added class. The film is not the greatest piece of acting and writing but it is indeed a realistic look at the Easy Money syndrome Gamble sensibly. Gamble for fun, but never borrow money to gamble. Stay in touch with yourself...the film's message is clear and the minor faults of an early 50's plot are overlooked by this viewer. A hell of a rush to win but...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Steve Brodie may be the nominal star but since he only makes his appearance 15 minutes before the film's end, it may be said that John Litel owns this movie. He plays widower John Hewitt, almost too devoted to his two daughters and who is dazzled by his first trip to the race track. By the time he gets home he is hooked - courtesy of a lucky tip given to him by his brother-in-law. Not a lot of time given to character study, John becomes hooked fast and while keeping up the façade of "father of the year" and enduring occasional pieces of advice from his mother about the advantages of remarrying he is drawn into the murky morass of gambling addiction. He thinks he has found a sympathetic woman - Mary Slate (slinky Marie Windsor, obviously John hasn't seen any of her movies). She is the go between who meets John to exchange his wins and losses from the bookies but she is not who she appears and toward the end introduces him to her "brother" Rick (Brodie) so they can set him up for a $20,000 fall.

    This was a 1950's "problem" picture and a lot better than most helped enormously by John Litel's compelling performance. Steve Brodie's appearance instantly gives the film an edginess and pushes it into noir territory and Marie Windsor, while she has to play a nice girl (on the surface), is always great. Also seen is Carl Switzer (Alfalfa in "Our Gang") as one of the daughter's persistent suitors and Barbara Billingsly ("Leave It to Beaver") as John's secretary and the one he should have taken an interest in all along.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    $2 the first bet, Doubling almost daily until it reaches three or four more zeros as an honest man's life descends into degradation to a sudden addiction. John Litel, a former leading actor at Warner Brothers in the 1930's, gives a magnificent performance in this low budget crime drama that starts off light-hearted where, as a loving family man successful in business, he continues to fall down and not get up as his situation gets worse. He keeps a good credit line with the bookie that he makes horse racing bets from, and they certainly know how to sucker him in period that fabulous femme fatale, Marie Windsor, plays a nefarious schemer who helps her boss drag him and deeper, pretending to be romantically interested in him and aiding in increasing his debts, culminating with him stealing from his own company, he becomes more desperate, and this leads to a truly shocking twist that he never would have even considered had he not been in this situation.

    The storyline involved in lighthouse family is very light hearted and typical 1950s sitcom. He has two teenage daughters, both boy crazy, & a wise and wonderful mother in law (Kay Lavelle) who stands by him and encourages him to go on with his life even though her daughter was his late wife. They have a brother/sisterly relationship in spite of being mother in law and son in law, and that is one of the most touching non-dark elements of this film. the postwar years of cinema focus on many social problems including alcoholism, insanity and gambling, previously seen with Barbara Stanwyck in the lady gambles, and now presented from a decent mans point of view. Litel is very likable, and it is difficult to see him fall from grace with this situation. Look for Carl Switzer and Barbara Billingsley in small roles.
  • boblipton13 February 2020
    John Litel is the comptroller of a bank who meets up with some friends at a racetrack. He's never bet on the ponies in his life, but he's badgered in a friendly way into a $2 bet, which he wins. He wins the next one, and gets to enjoy the extra money.... until he starts to lose and embezzles money, hoping to get even.

    We're in B movie territory, with director Edward L. Cahn handling it like an extended version of CRIME DOES NOT PAY; he had directed a few of those in his early days at MGM. Although he was never a great director, he was a competent one who let everyone in his cast and crew do their jobs, and with John Litel in the lead, and with Marie Windsor playing one of her shady girl characters, the movie is pretty good.
  • bkoganbing11 March 2014
    The only gambling I've ever enjoyed in my life is the $2.00 window at the racetrack. I've always liked to see where my $2.00 is being spent. I remember one time going to Finger Lakes racetrack and coming home with four winners out of eight races. Wow, I'm some sort of genius. Needless to say like John Litel in Two Dollar Bettor I learned soon I wasn't.

    But I never graduated beyond the $2.00 window and that certainly wasn't John Litel. A friend brings him to a racetrack where he's never been and he places a bet and wins. He has some more winners including a big longshot. After that he's placing bets with a bookie whose collector is the seductive Marie Windsor. Litel is good and hooked as only Marie can hook them.

    But Windsor has her own agenda involving her recently released from prison husband Steve Brodie. Litel's already embezzling from his company and as comptroller he has the access to do it. Let's say it ends badly all around.

    This independent production from an outfit called Realart Studios looks and feels like an expanded version of one of MGM's Crime Does Not Pay series. The performances are sincere and Marie Windsor is evil as Marie Windsor can only be. Still it's a shoddy production and can't get too high a rating from me.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a very frustrating film to watch, as the film has some of the most inconsistent writing I've seen in a very long time. It's sad, as John Litel was great in the lead and the script still had an awful lot to like. Here's the main problem--when the main plot is in play and Litel is acting, the movie is wonderful. But, when he's at home with his family, it is just awful. Despite being a film noir-like film, the scenes at home are like a bad 1950s sit-com--with an awful lot of 'gee whiz' sort of dialog. This portion of the film came off as schmaltzy and fake--something odd for a film that, apart from that, is ultra-realistic and dark!! Perhaps the film was written by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde!!

    The film begins at the race track. A middle-aged businessman has been invited there but he seems really bored. He's not a gambler and only places a bet after his friends pressure him. He's very lucky that day and makes a nice little killing. Unfortunately, like often happens with gambling addicts, this initial success only whets his appetite and soon he's a full-fledged gambler--with a full-fledged addiction. Now, he's spending all his savings and his life is a shambles--though so far no one suspects. He even begins stealing from his company and faces jail unless he does something. Where all this takes him is very sinister and exciting--and is a good morality tale about the dangers of gambling without coming off as preachy. Now if only they could have re-done those scenes with his annoying daughters and their equally annoying friends. Yuck!

    Worth a look AND it is in the public domain. This means you can follow the IMDb link and download the film for free!
  • bombersflyup26 December 2017
    Warning: Spoilers
    Despite an interesting premise, Two Dollar Bettor falls well short on delivery.

    The biggest problem being the main character John Hewitt, he lacks believability. John throws away his life betting on horses, without ever being interested in horse racing. Late in the film, we learn that John has just been betting on the one jockey and that's where his winnings came from and when that jockey wasn't riding, John was losing. Surely you would want to have a reason for your actions and an understanding of what's going on. When he's at the track late in the film, it's like he doesn't know anything. The race calling's also repetitive and dull.

    The whole film's empty really, no depth in any of the characters. There are many scenes at home of his daughters and they're goings on, yet we don't learn anything about them. The film's fairly short and part of the problem. I see no reason why this couldn't be remade better.