A Big Hand for the Little Lady

1966 Western

Rating: 11/20

Plot: Henry Fonda, his wife, and their child arrive in a Laredo, Texas bar/inn on their way to San Antone. They got forty acres waitin' for 'em, and they's got some farmin' to do; however, the 19th Century equivalent of a flat tire causes them to temporarily halt their travels. The annual big poker game between the richest dudes in the area just happens to be taking place in a closed-off back room of the inn, and Fonda's character wants a piece of the action. While his wife is at the auto mechanic's shop getting the wagon fixed, he does get involved despite promising her that he wouldn't. He loses a bunch of money because, apparently, he is terrible. Then, in a game of five card draw, every player at the table gets a huge hand, and Fonda has run out of money. Jason Robards gets grumpy and says something in a gravelly voice, a voice that smells like bourbon. Then a bunch of other stuff happens, nothing which has much interest for this viewer who wanted more poker action, and the movie ends.

Honestly, I picked this movie up thinking it would be a movie about spanking. It wasn't. It wasn't, unfortunately, about poker either as not a single hand was shown. Not even a single card of a player's hand was shown (although we did find out that a guy had three deuces while another had a full house during one hand). This was completely unbelievable as a poker movie. The game was unrealistic, and although the players were gritty, watching the players' faces light up when they looked at their cards during the big hand was really painful for me. There's a surprise twist of an ending that could be seen (at least pieces of it) from a mile away regardless of plot holes shot into it that make the whole thing not work in the first place. The movie was fun enough, but the good cast seemed to have phoned it in and there was a complete lack of style. I did like Jason Robards though.

So, Jason Robards (if you're reading this), good job! I liked you as Cable Hogue, too!

Here I am wishing I could play poker at this table:

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