Little Miss Marker

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{woman, child, man}
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{language, word, form}
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Little Miss Marker (also known as The Girl in Pawn) is a 1934 American drama film directed by Alexander Hall. The screenplay was written by William R. Lipman, Sam Hellman, and Gladys Hellman after a short story by Damon Runyon. The film stars Shirley Temple, Adolphe Menjou, and Dorothy Dell in a story about a little girl held as collateral by gangsters. The film was named to the United States National Film Registry and has been remade several times.



The film tells the story of "Marky" (Temple), whose father gives her to a gangster-run gambling operation as a "marker" (collateral) for a bet. When the man loses his bet and commits suicide, the gangsters are left with the girl on their hands. They decide to keep her temporarily and use her to help pull off one of their fixed races, naming her the owner of the horse to be used in the race.

Marky is sent to live with bookie Sorrowful Jones (Menjou). Initially upset about being forced to look after the girl, the gangster eventually begins to develop a father-daughter relationship with her. His fellow gangsters become fond of her and begin to fill the roles of her extended family. Bangles (Dell), the girlfriend of gang kingpin Big Steve (Bickford) also begins to care for Marky. Being around the gang has a somewhat bad influence on the child, and she begins to develop a cynical nature and a wide vocabulary of gambling terminology and slang.



In 1998, Little Miss Marker was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


The film was remade in 1949 as Sorrowful Jones with Bob Hope and Lucille Ball and again as Little Miss Marker in 1980 with Walter Matthau, Julie Andrews, Tony Curtis, Bob Newhart, Brian Dennehy, and Lee Grant. Another remake was 1962's 40 Pounds of Trouble, starring Tony Curtis as a casino manager who is left with an eight-year-old girl.

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