Directed by Walter Bernstein • 1980 • United States
Starring Walter Matthau, Julie Andrews, Tony Curtis
Damon Runyon’s classic short story—originally filmed in 1934 as a Shirley Temple vehicle—gets a sparkling screen update courtesy of an all-star cast. Walter Matthau stars as Sorrowful Jones, the gruff but good-hearted bookie whose life is turned upside-down when he receives a six-year-old kid (Sara Stimson) as collateral for a bet. When the girl’s father commits suicide, the woefully unprepared Sorrowful finds himself playing the role of father while wrangling with gangsters. Julie Andrews, Tony Curtis, Bob Newhart, and Lee Grant costar in this unsung family gem rich in warm humor and 1930s period detail.