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Cory, an ambitious Chicago slum kid with a knack for gambling, gets a busboy job at a posh Wisconsin resort...where his real purpose is to gamble with the staff and guests and romance rich young ladies. Setbacks follow, but Cory eventually rises to a high position in the world of professional gambling. But he just can't forget the glamorous Vollard sisters. And now he has even farther to fall...Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Mister Cory" is a fast-moving and very engaging Cinemascope movie about a slick go-getter who cuts corners to get to the top. As played by Tony Curtis, Mister Cory - we never learn his Christian name - is charming and amusing, and the audience never dislikes him.
Mister Cory leaves his Chicago slum home and starts work as a busboy in a lake-side holiday resort for the very rich. Quickly he makes extra money by various games of chance. When he sees the elegant and beautiful Abigail Vollard (Martha Hyer) he decides he must have her, even though he is warned that she is a practised heart-breaker. Cory pretends to Abby that he is a rich guest at the resort, but his tactics come to nothing when a jealous colleague lets Abby know that Cory works in the kitchen. Cory leaves and becomes a small-time professional gambler. He teams up with Jeremiah Caldwell (Charles Bickford) who introduces him to big-league gambling. (N. B. "Mister Cory was made a few years before "The Hustler" which had the same premise.) They open up their own gambling house and invite Abby and her fiancé. Mister Cory and Abby re-start their liaison with dramatic consequences.
"Mister Cory" is an early Blake Edwards movie, and incorporates his usual fascination with the difference between appearance and reality. That difference is obvious with Cory but is much more real and important with Abby. This was one of the best parts Martha Hyer ever had, and she plays her role well, bringing out both the sexual hypocrisy and the smooth good manners of a well brought-up beauty from a privileged background. Hair stylist Joan St. Oegger and cinematographer Russell Metty made Martha Hyer very glamorous indeed, and the audience has no difficulty accepting that all men find Abby irresistible.
Other supporting players give good performances. Charles Bickford was always a strong screen presence and is so in "Mister Cory". Kathryn Grant is extremely likable as Abby's boisterous younger sister, and the remarkably handsome William Reynolds does well as Abby's rich and duped fiancé. Henry Daniell almost steals the movie playing the prim and snobbish resort manager.
The IMDb incorrectly credits the music to Henry Mancini. As Mancini himself carefully explained in his autobiography, it was the penny-pinching policy at Universal-International in the mid-fifties not to write new music for a movie, but instead to re-use music from previous Universal films. Mancini writes about "Mister Cory": "I didn't write the score for that picture, but as often happened when they needed music in a pop vein, I had been brought in for some source cues."
For some reason, "Mister Cory" is rarely screened today, even on television. An enhanced widescreen DVD would be very welcome.
UPDATE 2012: Mister Cory has now been released on DVD in Spain under the title "El Temible Mister Cory" Although in anamorphic widescreen, the picture quality is mediocre.
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