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Little Miss Marker

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PG
1980

Set against the vibrant, raucous backdrop of 1930s New York, Little Miss Marker is a delightful film that combines elements of comedy, drama, and warmth, cleverly directed by Walter Bernstein. The film, released in 1980, sees big names like Walter Matthau, Julie Andrews, and Tony Curtis join forces to create a charming and engaging movie experience.

In this compelling narrative, Walter Matthau, renowned for his distinctive brand of dry wit, stars as Sorrowful Jones, a gruff but ultimately loveable small-time bookmaker. Essentially a hardened bachelor with a cynical view of life, Sorrowful's world takes a tumultuous turn when a man named Carter (played by Kenneth McMillan), a down-on-his-luck compulsive gambler, places an unusual bet – his little daughter.

Unable to cover his bet with cash, Carter leaves his daughter, cheekily named Marky, as a marker, promising to return to reclaim her. However, when tragedy befalls Carter and he’s unable to return, Sorrowful finds himself unexpectedly tasked with caring for the young, precocious, and troubled girl, played with an endearing charm by Sara Stimson.

As the story unfolds, we witness Sorrowful’s gradual transformation. He's confronted with the unexpected task of fatherhood and dealing with the innocence and vulnerability of a distressed child. His stern, often grumpy exterior begins to crumble, and the audience gets to witness his transformation from a disenchanted bookmaker to the unlikely paternal figure for the abandoned little Marky.

But what movie would be complete without a love interest? Enter Julie Andrews portraying Amanda Worthington, a sophisticated, yet warm-hearted nightclub singer and love interest of Tony Curtis's character, racketeer Blackie Sheridan. As the story progresses, not only does Amanda provide emotional support to Sorrowful in his new and unexpected responsibility, but she also becomes attached to Marky, further complicating the dynamics of this unusual and makeshift family.

However, Blackie is unhappy with Amanda's attention being diverted to Sorrowful and Marky. Tony Curtis masterfully portrays the character of Blackie, the slick and ruthless racketeer who runs the illegal gambling operation where Sorrowful works. With his attention set on Amanda, he does not appreciate seeing her attention being divided. This sets off a potentially volatile situation, adding a level of tension and suspense to the unfolding narrative.

Walter Matthau's performance as Sorrowful Jones is endearing, his facial expressions and comedic timing adding depth and charm to his character. Julie Andrews shines in her portrayal of Amanda, adding layers of warmth, sophistication, and grace to her character. Tony Curtis, with his classic cool and commanding demeanor, delivers an excellent performance that well-defines his character.

The film is more than just a dry comedy. It presents a heartfelt exploration of the lives of those living on the sidelines of society in the 1930s – the bookies, the gamblers, the nightclub singers – and within that, the unlikely formation of a non-traditional family. Its comedic moments do not overshadow the genuine sentiment and heart-rending emotion that make the core of the movie, making for a film that's enjoyable but not frivolous.

Furthermore, the 1930s setting is brought to life excellently through meticulous set designs, iconic fashion, and an immersive soundtrack that had the feeling of being teleported back in time, thereby adding yet another dimension to the viewer’s pleasurable experience of the film.

In summary, Little Miss Marker is a visually appealing, entertaining, and emotionally fulfilling movie that beautifully explores the themes of unexpected fatherhood, non-traditional families, and the softening of hardened hearts. The film is a blend of laughs, tears, suspense, and romance, making it a memorable viewing experience. With its marvelous performances, engaging plotline, and authentic portrayal of the era, there’s much to appreciate in this film. It reminds us of the timeless message that sometimes, family isn't just about the ties of kinship, but is instead made up of those who care for us when we need them the most.

Little Miss Marker is a Comedy, Romance movie released in 1980. It has a runtime of 103 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.3..

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Where can I stream Little Miss Marker movie online? Little Miss Marker is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Little Miss Marker for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.3/10
Director
Walter Bernstein
Stars
Walter Matthau, Julie Andrews, Tony Curtis, Bob Newhart, Lee Grant, Sara Stimson, Brian Dennehy, Kenneth McMillan
Also directed by Walter Bernstein
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