40 Pounds of Trouble (1962) Poster

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Not the usual Tony Curtis catastrophe...
moonspinner5511 May 2002
Tony Curtis finally scores a bull's-eye! I've lost count of all the poor movies (comedic or otherwise) that Curtis made in the 1960s, but this one and the later "The Great Race" are his winners. Here, Tony (happily animated throughout) plays a swinging casino manager who comes to love a cute little orphaned girl left in his care. He also has his hands full of Suzanne Pleshette (groomed to look like an old-fashioned movie star, but still with her deep, husky voice--as if it were being channeled from beyond). This unofficial remake of 1934's "Little Miss Marker" has an exceptional supporting cast including Phil Silvers, Kevin McCarthy, Howard Morris and Edward Andrews, slick production, a funny slapstick chase through Disneyland. A good family movie and a happy surprise for Curtis buffs. *** from ****
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Such a cute film
MsMossie24 March 1999
Here I was, clicking away on the remote control, looking for something vaguely interesting, when I come across a movie called 40 Pounds of Trouble. The title sounded cute so I watched it. It made my day. They just don't make movies like that anymore. The end of the movie at Disneyland was just hilarious and I was laughing the whole way through. Such an enjoyable movie on such a boring day.
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Just a fun little movie
jantoniou14 January 2003
Nothing of earth-shattering significance here, but Tony Curtis is an ace in his role as McCluskey (do you buy him as a chip off the old Blarney Stone? Not I), a workaholic, alimony-dodging, anal-retentive manager of a casino who seems to be frenetically sleepwalking through his life -- until the blase munchkin of a destitute gambler is left to his care. The beautiful Pleshette, who plays convincingly (albeit not as a singer) as a slumming singer and the casino owner's niece, slides conveniently into place as the mother figure of this atypical family unit.

The little girl is mildly funny and already a little world-weary in a manner only a screenwriter might make a child, thanks to her old man saddled by gambling debts and a life bouncing from one casino hotel room to the next. She seems to handle herself a little too expertly no matter what life throws her, but has a tender side that tenderizes Curtis' heart and sets up a few too many close-ups of Curtis smiling sweetly at the wee bairn. Still, she doesn't wisecrack too hard and manages a few good and funny moments on camera.

When the trio lights off to Disneyland - and to California, the epicenter of earthquakes and his mounting legal troubles - this sets up a fun series of scrambles around Uncle Walt's dreamscape to avoid arrest from a bumbling cop who strangely seems to be at the beck-and-call of McCluskey's vindictive ex-wife and her attorney.

The ending is no surprise, but, then again, that's what we all tend to like in light-hearted movies of this type and era. A nice, fun movie to rent and spend a lazy afternoon watching.
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A film I always enjoyed-Disney fan of course SPOILERS
CKCSWHFFAN6 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I remember watching this film on TV when I was a kid.

In the 1990's I grabbed it the minute it was released on video tape.

Where the heck is the DVD of this for Disney/Disneyland fans? The first film at Disneyland.

Story a simple 1960's film. I liked Suzanne?s character.

Interesting to see old casinos.

Disneyland fan I am seeing the park in color early 1960's is great. Monorail & Matterhorn. Incorrect shots-getting off the Monorail & they are looking at Sleeping Beauty Castle? Apparently Walt moved it for the film? Ha ha.

The use of the park I thought was great.

Whether you are a Disney fan or not and just looking for a simple, no curse words, no nudity comedy then you can enjoy this film. Films are NOT made like this today, clean cut film.

Disney/Disneyland fans will truly enjoy seeing the park when it was less than 10 years old & see the differences between now & then.
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A child witness on the stand in court brings tears to your eyes
Ed-Shullivan3 February 2015
The film is very typical of the 60's-70's comedy romance films where the handsome and rich (divorced) playboy this time starring Tony Curtis as Casino Manager Steve McCluskey shows disdain for the casino owners inferred girlfriend played by Suzanne Pleshette as night club singer Chris Lockwood. In reality Chris Lockwood is in fact not the casino owners' girlfriend but is really just his niece as always claimed of the casino owner leaving the door open for McCluskey to consider entering in to a romantic relationship with Chris Lockwood.

The story begins with a lifetime gambler who over extends his credit limit at the casino that Steve McCluskey (Tony Curtis) runs, so the gambler takes off to find some cash leaving behind his 7 year old daughter Penny Piper (Claire Wilcox) at the casino in his hotel room. Of course the gambling father intends to come right back to the casino as soon as he gets some more cash. But as circumstances would have it, he is tragically killed in an auto accident leaving the casino manager Steve McCluskey and his new night club singer Chris Lockwood (Suzanne Pleshette) to figure out a way to break the news to cute little 7 year old Penny that her deadbeat gambling dad has left his little girl all alone in the world.

What to do? Oh what to do? Why not ask Penny what she always wanted to do? So the question is posed to 7 year old Penny and she says she wants to go to Disneyland. As if McCluskey doesn't have enough to worry about with running a casino, he also has private detectives and his ex-wife's lawyer chasing him to pay up on alimony so he needs to disguise himself to leave the casino to even get to Disneyland where the classic chase around Disneyland ensues played alongside some classical musical score.

A good time is had by all at Disneyland, romance continues to bloom between McCluskey and Lockwood as they care for little Penny who is having the time of her life with her chaperone's in an effort to distract her from the sudden death of her gambling daddy. Eventually McCluskey is nabbed and ends up in court where little Penny is put on the stand and questioned as to how she was treated while in the care of McCluskey at his casino. This is where 7 year old Penny wins over her audience and the judge as she bestows all the credit for her loving care and attentiveness on casino manager McCluskey for making sure she was treated like the little angel that she is. Tears will start to flow from most women's eyes as Penny indirectly tells us how much she loves McCluskey.

Incidentally, 7 year old Penny (played by Claire Wilcox) was born in Toronto, Ontario the same Canadian city that Grade 1 director Norman Jewison is from. Ms. Wilcox went on to appear in various television series as a guest star for the next several years as a young teenager and then stopped acting completely. Her whereabouts are currently unknown? Ms. Wilcox what are you doing now? You stole the big screen from Tony Curtis and Suzanne Pleshette. I give the film a 6 out of 10 and Ms. Wilcox a perfect 10 out of 10 for her heart felt performance.
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"Out of the mouth of babes and infants," ~ Psalms 8:2
Psalm5230 July 2006
With the recent passing of Tony Curtis, I'm revisiting this review of this simple and sweet film. I agree w/ other favorable reviews for this movie. I didn't expect much from a 'Curtis Productions' film, but found the story enjoyable and watchable. My first impression is that any screenplay that revolves around a precocious, lil orphaned girl has to reflect Christian values, and the film didn't disappoint. The kid is funny. However, some of the characters, while humorous, are on the periphery of the Christian-American community.Gambling is a way of practicing dishonesty. It is a form of taking what does not rightfully belong to a person. This story did not have to be set in that environment.

Equally important, and on a lighter note, the movie is a great time capsule of an era (Camelot) gone by. My fav scene is when the three leads are in the park having lunch and wearing the masks of Kennedy, Krushchev, and Castro! The one over-the-top performance is Phil Silvers who shouts and sucks the air out of the room. Overall, Lake Tahoe and Disneyland film beautifully and the supporting players are fine. To think Ms. Pleshette went from this saccharine to the subversive 'Hot Stuff' a decade later is amusing.
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Hollywood loves a remake
JohnRaso14 September 1999
This is pretty much a redo of little miss marker, it's better than the walter matthau version although it may not beat the shirley temple one ;) Movies always seem to look better in technicolour. A good excuse for Tony Curtis to take the crew to disneyland.
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Tony's women trouble
TheLittleSongbird27 August 2018
While not one of the greatest of actors, Tony Curtis was always watchable and gave good performances (truly great actually in 'Some Like it Hot' and 'Sweet Smell of Success') in a fair share of good films. That '40 Pounds of Trouble' was directed by talented Norman Jewison, in his feature film debut, and had a promising cast were also good reasons to see it.

'40 Pounds of Trouble', the second of three re-workings of 'Little Miss Marker', may not be perfect or one of the all-time greats, nor did it try to be, or among the best work of those involved. Jewison especially went on to better things, such as 'Fiddler on the Roof' and 'In the Heat of the Night'. It is great fun though, with bags of charm. One of those films that doesn't try to do too much or play it too safe, knowing what it wanted to do and how to approach it, succeeding in its goal.

There is not an awful lot wrong here. It perhaps ends predictably and conveniently and occasionally loses momentum in the latter parts of the film where it could have done with more variety.

Phil Silvers overdoes it somewhat, a very enthusiastic performance that was mostly fun but at times over-eager, and could have reigned in more, had the sense that Jewison was not finding it easy to control him.

Curtis is like the film however, immensely likeable. Despite having less of the heroic, athletic quality of his early roles and more of the darker, meaty quality of others when he grew as an actor, he still manages to find the right touch of light-footed energy and charm. He shares amusing and tender chemistry with appealing, neither too cute or bratty, Claire Wilcox.

Suzanne Pleshette is a charmer in her role and Kevin McCarthy and Larry Storch have fun in theirs. Visually, '40 Pounds of Trouble' has a glossy and elegant look, while the witty and humorously light-hearted script, nostalgic Disneyland setting, generally lively pace (occasionally losing momentum in the latter parts), sparkling cast chemistry and engagingly likeable story make the film further appealing. As said, Jewison did go on to better things, for a feature debut though it is quite competent and at least seems to be in keeping with the film's light tone.

Overall, entertaining and easy to like. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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Mrs. McCluskey ain't a good scout
bkoganbing12 May 2018
40 Pounds Of Trouble casts Tony Curtis as a somewhat jaded manager of one of Las Vegas's gambling palaces owned by Phil Silvers who has told him to find a singing spot for his niece Suzanne Pleshette. But he's got another crisis on his hands. One of his regular players has left a marker in the form of his daughter while he's out raising a bankroll. The daughter is little Claire Wilcox the 40 Pounds Of Trouble in the title.

It doesn't look like he's coming back this time and the little girl does work on melting the heart of this gambler. Suzanne Pleshette's working on her end as well. It might be working out if it weren't for the fact Curtis has an ex-wife in Mary Murphy whom he's into for a lot of back alimony and she's got a good attorney in Kevin McCarthy who is a one man collection agency.

This is a pleasant almost G-rated comedy with a climax in that most G-rated of places, Disneyland. It's where Wilcox has always wanted to go and Curtis and Pleshette plan on a day there. Only Murphy's bloodhound McCarthy sniffs them out and then it's a mad Keystone Kops like chase through Walt's Magic Kingdom to get the papers served.

Besides those mentioned there are a lot of familiar faces that line the cast of 40 Pounds Of Trouble which always makes for great viewing. In many ways Curtis is playing a comic version of the role Robert DeNiro did as the manager in Martin Scorsese's Casino.

I wonder how Ace Rothstein would have handled all this?
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Norman Jewison has come a LONG way from this
lee_eisenberg3 November 2013
What comes to mind when you think of Norman Jewison? "In the Heat of the Night"? "Rollerball"? "Other People's Money"? "The Hurricane"? Well take a big breath, because I'm about to tell you about his directorial debut. The directorial debut of the man who gave us "The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming" and "Fiddler on the Roof" was one of THE stupidest movies ever made: "40 Pounds of Trouble". I recall an interview with Jewison and he noted that he got hired to direct it. Makes sense. The entire movie made me feel as though a drill was getting shoved into my head. During the whole sequence in Disneyland, I kept thinking that there should be a theme park centering on horror flicks, cult movies, etc. Instead of "there's the castle where Cinderella and Prince Charming met", you'd hear "there's the cabin where Ash and his friends awoke the Evil Dead, and the evil spirits began killing everyone".

The point is, "40 Pounds of Trouble" is as much fun as dragging 40 pounds of lead. Something must have gone wrong with Tony Curtis in the early '60s, because it was also around this time that he dumped Janet Leigh (seriously, what kind of man dumps Janet Leigh?). Long story short, you will be a far better person if you NEVER see this movie as long as you live. Norman Jewison directed "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "A Soldier's Story", so there's no reason to waste your time on this. There, I saved you two hours.

Yeah, there should be a theme park for all the campy pop culture. There would have to be an entire section devoted to Elvira.
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A pleasant remake.
MartinHafer28 August 2016
This is the third version of Damon Runyon's story and was previously made as "Little Miss Marker" (with Shirley Temple), "Sorrowful Jones" (with Bob Hope) and now with this film. All three are enjoyable, though if I were to recommend one (and I am) it would be the original "Little Miss Marker". Still, you could do a lot worse than watching this nice Tony Curtis/Suzanne Pleshette film.

When the film begins, Steve (Curtis) is evading process servers from California once again and just beats them across the state line to the casino he manages in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. He seems like a reasonably happy man...or at least successful. But when a loser leaves his cute little girl behind in his hotel room, Steve has got a problem. Oddly, instead of calling the police he and the staff grow to like the kid and keep her!! Later, the girl wants to go on an outing to Disneyland but this will mean Steve once again risking be served a summons to pay back alimony. Along for the ride is a night club singer with a heart of gold, Chris (Pleshette).

The plot is very familiar but has been rather de-Runyonized. In other words the lovable seedy characters you've seen in other Runyon productions as well as earlier versions of this story are mostly gone---cleaned up a bit and with dialog that clearly is more normal! I didn't mind this at all and everyone did fine in the film. I particularly liked seeing the footage of Disneyland circa 1962, as things have certainly changed a lot...and you do see a lot of Disney in the film. Not everything about Disney is perfect, however, as the chase scene did become a bit tedious. Still, it's a nice film that has aged well and is worth your time.
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JohnD6121 August 2017
While I absolutely love Suzanne Pleshette and can generally look past most any film's shortcomings just to see her (and hear her!), this film is just dreadful. Disneyland was shown to advantage which may be the only real reason for its existence. That and of course being a commercial for the casino at beginning. A real waste of many talented comedic actors and obviously something Norman Jewison would never put on his resume today. Skip it and watch any of the other versions of this story. This was a box office box and it is easy to see why.
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