A Lady Takes a Chance


1h 26m 1943

Film Details

Also Known As
Free for All
Release Date
Jan 1943
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 15 Sep 1943
Production Company
Frank Ross, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,952ft

Synopsis

Lured by the promise of "fourteen breathless days of romance and adventure," New Yorker Mollie J. Truesdale boards a bus bound for the wide-open spaces of the West. As Mollie takes her seat, she is accosted by her suitors, Bob Hastings, Gregg Stone and Malcolm, all bearing bon voyage gifts for her. Mollie's battling beaus impress her man-hungry seat mate, Florrie Bendix. After being welcomed by Smiley Lambert, their corny tour guide, the bus heads West. At the Fairfield rodeo, Mollie meets cowboy Duke Hudkins when Duke's bronco sends him sailing into the stands and he lands on top of Mollie. Smitten by the handsome cowboy, Mollie follows him to ask for his autograph, and he invites her for a beer. At the saloon, Mollie's dreams of romance dim when Duke invites three lady friends and his partner Waco to join them, and she leaves the table. Duke cajoles her into returning, and Mollie brings him luck at the crap table when she spots a pair of loaded dice. After Mollie celebrates with a potent shot of "cactus milk," Duke starts a saloon brawl which culminates in the cowboy throwing Mollie out the window and onto a haystack. Joining Mollie in the hay, Duke warns her that he isn't marriage material and speaks fondly of his horse, Sammy. Mollie then tells Duke about the amazing feats of her imaginary horse, Gwendolyn. Later that night, when Duke accompanies Mollie to the bus depot, he discovers that his watch is broken and Mollie has missed her bus. After the clerk instructs Mollie to meet the bus in Gold City on its return route, Duke offers her his hotel room for the night and a ride to Gold City the next day. When Duke makes amorous advances toward her, however, Mollie becomes angry and refuses to ride with him. The next morning, Mollie hitches a ride, but when she is stranded in the middle of the desert at night, she flags down Waco and Duke and climbs in their car. As they are seated around the campfire that night, Duke rails against marriage. After retiring, Molly gets cold and borrows Sammy's blanket and when Duke awakens the next morning, he snatches the blanket from her and puts it back on his horse. When Sammy catches a cold and begins to sneeze, Duke blames Mollie for his horse's illness. In Gold City, the vet warns Duke that Sammy may die of pneumonia, and when Mollie tries to apologize, he tells her goodbye and walks away. When Mollie confides to Waco that Duke is "the right fella for her," Waco warns her that Duke will break her heart. Later that afternoon, Duke is bulldogging at the rodeo when Mollie jumps into the corral and tells him that Sammy will recover. They both run to visit Sammy, and afterward, Mollie rents a room at Duke's motel. Knowing that she must leave in the morning, Mollie invites Duke to a home-cooked dinner. The meal ends with a kiss, and Mollie dreamily drapes an apron on Duke as they prepare to wash the dishes. A glance at his reflection in the mirror brings Duke to his senses and he storms out the door, protesting that he doesn't want to be "hooked." The next morning, Mollie sorrowfully meets her bus and heads back East. At the New York City depot, she is greeted by her three battling suitors, who all eagerly escort her out the door. Mollie is carried back through the doors by Duke, who announces that he has come to take her back. When Bob objects, Duke slugs him and guides the protesting Mollie back onto the bus and into her seat, much to the dismay of Smiley. After Duke proposes to Mollie, the bus lurches to a start and they kiss.

Film Details

Also Known As
Free for All
Release Date
Jan 1943
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 15 Sep 1943
Production Company
Frank Ross, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 26m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,952ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Free for All. The opening credits contain the following written prologue: "Once upon a time: It was so long ago that people drove sixty miles an hour, And skidded their tires, And drank three cups of coffee all at once, And ate big gobs of butter, And there were more fellows around then there were girls, and everybody was having a good time without knowing it. That's when our story happened. Away back then...in 1938. And here's hoping that 'Once upon a time' goes on again some quick tomorrow. Only better." According to pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter, Henry Hathaway was initially slated to direct and Ted Tetzlaff was to photograph this picture. Joe Bernard and Frank Felton were both credited as "Otto" by the CBCS. It has not been determined if both actors appeared in the film, or if one replaced the other. A Hollywood Reporter production chart places Joyce Compton and Jacqueline Dalya in the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. John Wayne was borrowed from Republic to appear in this picture. A post-production news item in Hollywood Reporter adds that the $250,000 in advertising alloted to this film was one of the studio's largest publicity budgets to date.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1944

Henry Hathaway started directing this film, later taken over William A Seiter.

Released in United States 1944