The Gambler from Natchez (1954)

The Gambler From Natchez (1954)The Gambler from Natchez is a film released in 1954 by Twentieth Century Fox. The Gambler from Natchez follows the story of an army serviceman who returns to New Orleans in the 1840s to find that his father, a gambler, was killed while cheating in a card game. The man then sets out to avenge his father’s death and clear his name.

The film was promoted with several taglines, including "Gambling casinos! Creole beauties! Highborn ladies! Flashing swords! Thundering fists! They were all in the cards…" and "Bold and bawdy as the might Mississippi! Lusty and gusty as its fiery women! Rousing as the times that inspired it!"

Cast and Crew of The Gambler from Natchez

The Gambler from Natchez was directed by Henry Levin and produced by Leonard Goldstein. The film’s screenplay was written by Gerald Drayson Adams and Irving Wallace. William B. Murphy edited The Gambler from Natchez, and Lloyd Ahern handled the cinematography. Lionel Newman composed the score.

The Gambler from Natchez stars Dale Robertson in the leading role of Vance Colby. Debra Paget plays Melanie "Melly" Barbee, and Thomas Gomez is cast as Captain Antoine Barbee. The supporting cast includes Lisa Daniels, Kevin McCarthy, Douglas Dick, John Wengraf, and Don Randolph.

Plot Synopsis for The Gambler from Natchez

The film begins in the early 1800s, with Vance Colby returning home from the army and eagerly anticipating seeing his father, Chip Colby. Vance is accompanied by Pierre Bonet, his father’s attorney. Bonet is playing a game of poker with Gottwald, an arrogant German player. Bonet loses, but Vance steps into the game and wins the money back in a single hand. Following the game, Gottwald realizes that Vance is Chip’s son, and he accuses Vance of cheating like his father. A fight breaks out, Vance wins, and Gottwald charges him with a hook. Melanie Barbee, daughter of the riverboat captain, intervenes and slams Gottwald over the head with a frying pan. Vance thanks Melanie, but doesn’t realize that Melanie is romantically interested in him.

Vance and Pierre continue to ride home, and Pierre tells Vance that Chips has something important to tell him when they arrive. They meet Yvette Rivage, a woman whose carriage ride has been interrupted by a lame horse. Vance offers her his horse and accompanies Yvette to her home. Yvette is initially dismayed by his forwardness, but becomes more comfortable as he tells some jokes. They reach Yvette’s home, and meet with her brother Andre and Claude St. Germaine, her suitor. Yvette and Claude inform Vance that they’re investing in a new gambling boat, the Baton Rouge. Vance reveals that his father is Chip, and Yvette and Claude question his father’s honesty.

When Yvette finds that Vance is a gambler, she sends her henchman, Etienne, to kill him. Etienne wounds Vance, and he escapes in a boat and is rescued by Melly and Antoine. Antoine tells Vance that Chip, "the gambler from Natchez," once saved his boat from a cardsharp several years prior. The love connection between Vance and Melly grows.

The same day, Vance arrives at his father’s hotel in New Orleans, but is shocked to find that his father has been killed. Robert Renard, the police commissioner, informs Vance that Chip was slain by a Creole man after being accused of cheating in a card game. Renard also tells Vance that Andre Rivage was the person who murdered Chip, and that waiter Rene Garonne and casino owner Nicolai Cadiz were witnesses to the alleged cheating. Renard informs Vance that he cannot legally take revenge on Andre except in the case of a public duel.

Vance heads to the St. Cyr casino and questions Garonne regarding the incident. Cadiz interrupts, and Vance accuses him of aiding in the death of his father. Vance abducts Garonne and brings him back to Antoine’s boat. Garonne then informs him that Andre forfeited his stake in the Baton Rouge during a card game with Chip, causing him to shoot and kill Chip. Cadiz interfered with the cards to create the appearance that Chip had cheated. Garonne also reveals that Chip, Cadiz, Andre, and Claude were all partners in the management of the Baton Rouge, which Vance now understands was the "important news." That night, Garonne is kidnapped away from Antoine’s boat.

The next morning, Melly arrives at Vance’s hotel to tell him of the kidnapping, and scolds him for staying in the same hotel as Yvette. Vance hadn’t been aware of Yvette’s presence at the hotel. Garonne is murdered, and Claude and Andre try to frame Vance by leaving the corpse in Vance’s hotel room. Vance and Renard enter the hotel room while Claude is still there, and they chase Claude. Claude runs to the roof, accidentally falls, and dies.

Antoine, disguised as a plantation owner, gambles at the St. Cyr. Vance informs LeClerc, the gambling commissioner, that the dealer at the casino is using a marked deck of cards. LeClerc takes away Cadiz’ gambling license, causing Cadiz to challenge Vance in a duel. Cadiz shoots first and misses, and Vance tries to cut him a deal. He says that if he confesses regarding Chip’s death, he’ll let him live. Cadiz draws another weapon, and Vance shoots him. Andre has Yvette invite Vance to the Baton Rouge’s opening, where he secretly plans to kill Vance. Melly and Atoine go with Vance to the opening, and Andre asks that Vance be removed from the boat on the grounds that he’s a professional gambler. Vance informs him that he is co-owner of the boat, and won’t leave.

Vance challenges Andre to a game of blackjack, the winner of which will receive control of the Baton Rouge. Andre loses, and the two engage in a sword fight. Vance kills Andre, and joins Melly after declining an invitation from Yvette to stay with her.