Best Man Wins


1h 18m 1948

Film Details

Release Date
May 6, 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain in the New York Saturday Press (1865).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

In the summer of 1853, profligate gambler Jim Smiley returns home to Dawson's Landing, Missouri after an absence of ten years. At the local hotel, Jim introduces his old friend, Amos the hotel clerk, and Sheriff Dingle to his "educated" jumping frog, Daniel Webster, and bets that Daniel will jump on command. With his winnings, Jim pays for his hotel room, and then calls on his wife Nancy and young son Bob but soon discovers that Nancy has divorced him and plans to marry Judge Leonidas K. Carter. Nancy upbraids Jim for deserting her and Bob, but allows him to become acquainted with the son he has never seen. To win the boy's affections, Jim promises to buy the possession Bob prizes the most, a racing Greyhound named Andrew Jackson III. Through a series of underhanded deals, Jim manages to scrape together $300 to buy the dog, and Bob eagerly enters the animal in an upcoming race at the fairgrounds. As Bob trains Andy for the contest, Monty, Carter's bratty son, taunts him, resulting in a fight between the two boys. Still in love with Nancy and disapproving of the pompous Carter, Jim decides to forswear gambling and take a job working at the hotel in an effort to win back Nancy's love. On the day of the race, Jim, unable to resist temptation, asks the river boat captain to place a bet for him on Carter's champion racer. Against all odds, Andy wins, and Nancy, believing that Jim had not placed any bets, is delighted that his reformation is complete and agrees to remarry him. On the day of the wedding, Jim finds Bob betting with Monty and counsels his son about the ruinous effect that gambling can have on one's life. Broke and remorseful for allowing Nancy to believe that he has forsworn gambling, and fearful that he will be a bad influence on his son, Jim decides to call off the wedding. At the same time, Carter, peeved at losing Nancy, tries to stop the ceremony by questioning Jim's ability to pay for the wedding arrangements. In response, Jim challenges Carter to bet $1,000 on Daniel Webster against Amos' leaper, Martha Washington. After Carter places his bet, Jim fixes the contest by stuffing Daniel with buckshot. Jim then refuses to accept Carter's money, and with his integrity restored, decides to tell Nancy the truth about betting on the dog race. Impressed by Jim's newfound honesty, Nancy gladly accepts him as her husband.

Film Details

Release Date
May 6, 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain in the New York Saturday Press (1865).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The viewed print was missing the majority of its production credits. According to a 1949 news item from Los Angeles Herald Express, Mark Twain's daughter, Sara Clemens Samossoud, and the Central Bank and Trust Company filed a lawsuit against Columbia, insisting that all references to Twain's story be eliminated. The outcome of that suit has not been determined. This film bears no relation to the 1935 Columbia Picture of the same name.