The Last Deal (1910)

Run Time - 11 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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This Biograph gambling melodrama was completed by D.W. Griffith in a fast two days. The hero, a chronic gambler, embezzles funds from his employer to feed his "habit." Discovering the discrepancy in the books, the employer figures out what has happened but compassionately gives the embezzler two days to return the money. The hero's wife willingly hocks her family jewels to save her husband from prison, but even this is not enough to make up the loss. In desperation, he sits in on a marathon poker game, hoping to win enough money to square himself. Instead, he loses spectacularly to a smooth cardsharp. On the verge of killing himself, the hero discovers that the cardsharp was in fact his wife's brother, who uses his own winnings from the other players to pay off the employer and save the day. James Kirkwood, Florence Barker and Owen Moore are among the Biograph players showcased herein. The Last Deal represented another stylistic step forward for Griffith with its innovational over-the-shoulder medium shots during the climactic card game, and with the director's striking utilization of a moving camera in one crucial scene.