Sorrowful Jones


1h 28m 1949
Sorrowful Jones

Brief Synopsis

A young girl is left with the notoriously cheap Sorrowful Jones as a marker for a bet. When her father doesn't return, he learns that taking care of a child interferes with his free-wheeling lifestyle. Sorrowful must also evade crooked gangsters and indulge in a bit of horse-thieving.

Film Details

Also Known As
Damon Runyon's Sorrowful Jones
Release Date
Jul 4, 1949
Premiere Information
New York opening: 5 Jun 1949
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Little Miss Marker" by Damon Runyon in Collier's (26 Mar 1932), and the 1932 Paramount film of the same name, written by William R. Lipman, Sam Hellman and Gladys Lehman.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

New York bookie Sorrowful Jones runs his "horse room" from behind a false wall in a Broadway barber shop. When gangster Big Steve Holloway's horse Dreamy Joe makes a surprise win, Sorrowful reluctantly pays his customers, all of whom had bet on the horse. That night, Sorrowful arrives at Big Steve's nightclub for a meeting and is surprised to find all the local bookies gathered together. Big Steve reveals to them that he fixed the race by giving Dreamy Joe a "speedball," and now demands a $1,000 payment from each bookie in exchange for notifying them in advance when Dreamy Joe will lose or win. Before the next race, Sorrowful accepts bets on Dreamy Joe, although he knows the horse will lose. Against his own rules, he even accepts a marker from Orville Smith, who leaves his four-year-old daughter Martha Jane as collateral. Orville is killed by Big Steve and his henchman, Once Over Sam, after intercepting a phone call in his office and learning about Big Steve's subterfuge. When Orville does not return for Martha Jane, Sorrowful's partner, Regret, insists that Sorrowful take Martha Jane home for the night. The next day, Sorrowful's former girl friend, burlesque performer Gladys O'Neill, comes by to help take care of the girl. Big Steve also visits and reveals that the racing commission is investigating him. In order to make a final win with Dreamy Joe, Big Steve transfers ownership of the horse to Martha Jane, and plans to drug the horse at the next race, which will kill it. Later, Orville's body is found floating in the East River, and Sorrowful learns that the little girl's mother is also dead. Unaware of Big Steve's set-up, Gladys insists that Sorrowful give Martha Jane all of Dreamy Joe's winnings if he should win the next race, or else she will turn him in to the police. Big Steve soon discovers that Martha Jane is Orville's daughter and seeks to get rid of her, but Sorrowful hides her on a fire escape and refuses to allow Big Steve or Sam to take her. Martha Jane falls from the fire escape and is hospitalized, and while she is in a coma, she calls out for Dreamy Joe. Desperate to save the little girl, Sorrowful and Regret steal Dreamy Joe from the racetrack and bring the horse into Martha Jane's hospital room. The horse's whinny awakens Martha Jane out of her coma just as police detective Reardon arrests Big Steve and Sam for Orville's murder. When Reardon suggests that Martha Jane will be placed in an orphanage, Sorrowful proposes to Gladys, and they marry, and spend their honeymoon taking their newly adopted daughter Martha Jane to an arcade.

Film Details

Also Known As
Damon Runyon's Sorrowful Jones
Release Date
Jul 4, 1949
Premiere Information
New York opening: 5 Jun 1949
Production Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Little Miss Marker" by Damon Runyon in Collier's (26 Mar 1932), and the 1932 Paramount film of the same name, written by William R. Lipman, Sam Hellman and Gladys Lehman.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Quotes

He makes a monkey out of me? Well I'll make an omelet outta him!
- Once Over Sam

Trivia

Notes

The film's title card reads: "Damon Runyon's Sorrowful Jones." The film opens with a foreword narrated by newsman Walter Winchell, who was a good friend of Runyon's. According to a Paramount News item, Winchell donated his salary to the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund, which Winchell had established in the writer's name. Although Maurice Cass is listed in the CBCS as "Psychiatrist," Emmett Vogan plays that role, and Cass does not appear in the film. This film marked Mary Jane Saunders' feature film debut. Also included in the film are excerpts from a number of popular songs, such as "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Sweet Adeline." The 1934 Paramount film on which Sorrowful Jones was partially based was titled Little Miss Marker, and was directed by Alexander Hall, and starred Adolphe Menjou and Shirley Temple (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.2523). Also based on Runyon's story were Universal's 1962 film Forty Pounds of Trouble, directed by Norman Jewison and starring Tony Curtis, Suzanne Pleshette and Claire Wilcox; and Universal's 1980 film Little Miss Marker, directed by Walter Bernstein and starring Walter Matthau, Julie Andrews and Tony Curtis. Bob Hope and Lucille Ball reprised their roles in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on November 21, 1949.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video April 7, 1988

Released in United States Summer July 4, 1949

Re-released in United States on Video May 19, 1993

Released in United States on Video April 7, 1988

Re-released in United States on Video May 19, 1993

Released in United States Summer July 4, 1949