Sorrowful Jones (1949), starring Bob Hope and Lucille Ball
New York bookie Sorrowful Jones takes a bet on Dreamy Joe from rotten gambler Orville Smith who leaves his young daughter, Martha, behind as collateral. When Orville overhears the horserace is fixed, he is killed by one of gangster Big Steve goons …
Sorrowful Jones is a wonderful movie. It’s based on a Damon Runyon story, a remake of Shirley Temple’s Little Miss Marker. It stars Bob Hope as the title character, Sorrowful Jones, a bookie, who receives a young child as a gambler’s marker. The villain of the film, Big Steve Holloway (played by Bruce Cabot) is trying to fix a horse race. And he kills the child’s father in order to keep the secret.
This leaves Sorrowful Jones to raise the little girl. With help from his ‘former’ girlfriend, played by the wonderful Lucille Ball. Sorrowful Jones has to keep the child safe, stay out of the hands of the villain, and kidnap a horse and smuggle it into the hospital! It makes sense in the film — really. One of the most touching moments in the film is when Sorrowful Jones has to teach the little girl to pray — truly precious, and the film is highly recommended.
Editorial review of Sorrowful Jones, courtesy of Amazon.com
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.
- First of four feature films that Bob Hope and Lucille Ball made together (Sorrowful Jones, Critics Choice, The Facts of Life, Mr. and Mrs.).
- Lux Radio Theater broadcast a 60-minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 21, 1949 with Bob Hope and Lucille Ball reprising their film roles
- The actual title of the original Damon Runyon story is “Markie; Little Miss Marker was the title of an earlier film adaptation.
Cast of characters
- Bob Hope (The Ghost Breakers) … Humphrey ‘Sorrowful’ Jones
- Lucille Ball (The Big Street) … Gladys O’Neill
- William Demarest (The Jolson Story) … Regret
- Bruce Cabot (King Kong) … Big Steve Holloway
- Thomas Gomez (Come to the Stable) … Reardon
- Tom Pedi (The Naked City 1948)… Once Over Sam
- Paul Lees (The Heiress) … Orville Smith
- Houseley Stevenson (Dark Passage) … Doc Chesley
- Ben Welden (Marked Woman) … Big Steve’s Bodyguard
- Emmett Vogan (Never Give a Sucker an Even Break) … Psychiatrist
- Mary Jane Saunders … Martha Jane Smith
[Updated July 12, 2022]