40 Pounds of Trouble (1962)

Damon Runyon's "Little Miss Marker" -the short story of a little girl left as collateral to a gangster- made its way to the screen several times, famously with Shirley Temple in the title role. Fast forward about 30 years and here is the story again starring Tony Curtis in Forty Pounds of Trouble -  the only film listed under Curtis Productions.

Claire Wilcox (who would later have a career in television before quitting in her 20s) plays the charming little kid who learns about running a hotel and gambling establishment as the adults decide her fate. Suzanne Pleshette is on hand as a lounge singer at the casino who falls in love with the Curtis character, creating a new little family for the girl.

There would be other remakes, but this movie stands out for one thing - Disneyland. The little girl wants to visit the Walt Disney theme park, which causes havoc for the gangster since he cannot cross state lines. Disneyland had opened a mere six years earlier and was still a fascinating novelty. No doubt this film brought Disney to children who couldn't travel all the way to California.

The problem, though, is that in having detectives chase Tony Curtis from the gambling hotel and into the magical world of Disney, the story becomes a completely different film. The first two-thirds of the movie is Ocean's 11 Meets Paper Moon. The last third is like a beautiful, mostly wordless, travelogue of Disney's Main Street U.S.A., Tom Sawyer's Tree House, etc.

Despite this abrupt change in tone and storyline, Forty Pounds of Trouble is a lovely location film recommended for Disneyphiles and Tony Curtis enthusiasts.


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"Java's Journey: A really fun, informative well-written blog that explores all of the things - and I mean all - I love about classic films."-- Flick Chick of A Person In The Dark Email: java-rush@hotmail.com


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