Cast & Crew
William Collier Sr.
Determined to produce the new play that his friend, Stephen Doty, has written, Michael MacCreigh makes the following bet with his wealthy uncle Carlton: If Michael is able to leave New York in his underwear, with no money and no chance of securing a loan, and arrive in Los Angeles ten days later with a suit, one hundred dollars and a girl friend, as the hero in Stephen's play does, Uncle Carlton will invest $15,000 in the production. If Michael fails to complete any aspect of the wager, however, he will give up the theater and join the MacCreigh meatpacking business. To satisfy the bet's first stipulation, Michael steps out of his uncle's limousine in his underwear and is chased by a Manhattan policeman to the nearest restaurant, where he runs into Paula Gilbert, a reluctant gold digger, and her would-be fiancé, Jackson Wallace. After Paula upbraids him for his appearance, Michael steals her cloak and is chased by Jackson, who eventually loses his tuxedo to Michael. On the road the next morning, Michael exchanges his tuxedo for a bum's World War I uniform and, while posing as a disabled veteran, is picked up by Paula and her aunt Charlotte, who are following Jackson to Los Angeles in the hope of securing a quick proposal. After a day on the road, the trio stops at a run-down hotel, where Michael works his charm on Paula and where he convinces Pop, the owner, to pay him for a few hours' work. The next day, Michael uses his pay to buy jars of Pop's homemade preserves, one of which he then resells to Paula. Michael also guarantees himself a ride with Paula and Charlotte by sabotaging their car and then repairing it for them on the road. Eventually, by bartering items town to town, Michael earns enough money to buy a suit. He also earns the love of Paula, who, in defiance of Charlotte, decides to give up Jackson. In New Mexico, however, the trio is ambushed by escaped convicts Donovan and Morton. Egged on by Paula, Michael escapes from the gangsters' hideout and eventually captures them and negotiates one hundred dollars as a reward. While still in the police station, Paula overhears Michael on the telephone, discussing the bet with his father. Furious and hurt by her discovery, Paula leaves without a word and takes the next airplane to Los Angeles. Aided by Charlotte, Michael finally catches up with Paula and convinces her of his genuine love. Then, with seconds to spare, Michael arrives at the appointed place to meet his father and win the wager. When Paula hears how Michael plans to spend the money, however, she convinces him to give up the theater and join the meatpacking business.
William Collier Sr.
Philip G. Epstein
Robert De Grasse
B. B. Kahane
Van Nest Polglase
P. J. Wolfson
Love on a Bet
In particular, Love on a Bet addressed the problem of homelessness, and the plight of millions of Americans who found themselves without a job, a bank account, or a home. For many, the street substituted as both a bed and a home. Love on a Bet took this basic premise and weaved an escapist fantasy around it. My Man Godfrey(1936), Meet John Doe (1941) and Sullivan's Travels(1942) are a few of the more famous titles that have also dealt humorously, but respectably, with the "forgotten men" who populated American streets.
The star in Love on a Bet was blonde, blue-eyed, early-talkie leading man Gene Raymond, who had been on the New York stage from near-infancy, making his Broadway bow at age 12. Though never a major star, Raymond developed a following in a variety of good film roles. His best screen assignments include important roles in If I Had a Million (1932), Zoo in Budapest (1933), Flying Down to Rio (1933) and Alfred Hitchcock's only screwball comedy, Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941). In 1948, Raymond scored a quadruple feat by producing, directing, co-writing and starring in Million Dollar Weekend. In real life, Raymond was married to singing star Jeanette MacDonald from 1937 until her death in 1965. Despite the many film credits between them, they only acted together in one film, Smilin' Through in 1941.
Director: Leigh Jason
Producer: Lee S. Marcus
Screenplay: Kenneth Earl (story), Philip G. Epstein, P.J. Wolfson
Cinematography: Robert De Grasse
Editor: Desmond Marquette
Art Direction: Albert Herman, Van Nest Polglase
Music: Alberto Colombo
Cast: Gene Raymond (Michael MacCreigh), Wendy Barrie (Paula Gilbert), Helen Broderick (Aunt Charlotte), William Collier Sr. (Uncle Carlton), Spencer Charters (Innkeeper).
By Scott McGee
Love on a Bet
The working title of this film was Don't Bet on Love. According to Motion Picture Herald's "The Cutting Room," Erik Rhodes was to have played the part of "Jackson Wallace." RKO borrowed Wendy Barrie from Paramount for this production. Hollywood Reporter production charts add Guinn Williams, Irving Bacon, Jerry Larkin, Mary McLaren, Eddie Kane, J. Anthony Hughes, Jack Rice, and Eddie Borden to the cast. The participation of these actors in the final film has not been confirmed.