Double Deal (1950 film)

Double Deal is a 1950 American crime drama film directed by Abby Berlin from a screenplay by Lee Berman and Charles S. Belden, based on an original story by Don McGuire. The film stars Marie Windsor and Richard Denning.

Double Deal
Double Deal.poster.jpg
Poster for the film
Directed byAbby Berlin
Screenplay byLee Berman
Charles S. Belden
Story byDon McGuire
Produced byJames T. Vaughn
StarringMarie Windsor
Richard Denning
Fay Baker
CinematographyFrank Redman
Edited byRobert Swink
Music byConstantin Bakaleinikoff
Bel-Air Productions
RKO Radio Pictures
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • December 1, 1950 (1950-12-01) (USA)
Running time
65 minutes
CountryUnited States


After a dice game one night in the Oklahoma oil town of Richfield, out-of-work engineer Buzz Doyle is broke. Another gambler, Reno Sebastian, has been cleaned out, too, but hostess Terry Miller tips them off that her boss Walter Karns, the big winner, was cheating with loaded dice.

Reno has a ranch and an oil well that has not yet produced. He invites Buzz to come work for him, and Terry, who is close to Reno, thinks it's a good idea because Reno's got just 45 days to strike oil or the well will go to his sister Lilli, as stipulated in their father's will.

Lilli has hated Reno ever since he killed her fiancé during a fight while they were gambling. Lilli is determined to get all his holdings now and will stop at nothing. She even tries to seduce Buzz into abandoning Reno and working for her, and when that doesn't work, Lilli threatens that something bad will happen to Buzz if he stands in her way. The corrupt Karns is in love with Lilli and will do her bidding.

Reno is found dead in Buzz's hotel room. He is initially a suspect but is cleared. In his will, Reno left his ranch to Terry, not to his sister. To sort out who's entitled to what, Terry and Buzz seek the advice of Corpus P. Mills, a tipsy attorney who represented the father of Reno and Lilli before he died.

Next, it is Lilli who is found dead, directly after a contentious meeting with Terry, who becomes a suspect and who now stands to inherit the ranch and the oil well. Mills convinces the authorities that Terry is not guilty and that, considering the apparent pattern of the murders, she is more likely to be the next victim.

When Terry is escorted home by a police officer, a totally sober Corpus Mills intercepts and kidnaps her. When they arrive at his place, it soon becomes clear that, from the start, Mills has been masterminding a scheme. He once held leases on all the rich land in the area, when these leases ran out the land was parceled off to the likes of Reno and Lilli.

Corpus admits to both killings and reveals to Terry how Reno's will stipulates that if something happens to her - which it will as he completes his plan - the properties return to Mills' possession. Walter Karns has been hiding in the house and now reveals himself to inform the attorney that he saw him murder Lilli. Karns figures this knowledge entitles him to "half of everything". Corpus shoots Karns, killing him.

Unaware of any of this, including the fact that Terry is no longer suspected of Lilli's murder, Buzz arrives to ask Mills for help. Before letting Buzz in, the attorney forces Terry into the basement and covers up the death of Karns. He then convinces Buzz that Terry is not in any trouble and that she's waiting for Buzz back at the hotel.

Thanks to a tip-off from an unlikely source, Buzz discovers Karns' body and Terry. A fight ensues, the police show up and Corpus Mills discovers that his crimes won't pay. In the end, Terry and Buzz get each other and a gusher of oil.



In July 1950, it was announced that Marie Windsor and Richard Denning would be starring in the film. It was the first picture being produced by the newly formed company, Bel Air Productions. It was scheduled to begin filming in July at RKO Studios.[1] Denning had been working on the radio show, My Favorite Husband, co-starring with Lucille Ball, which had caused him to pass up several film roles. Double Deal was the first part he took after finishing the radio show.[2] After ten years of playing the bad girl in films, this picture was Marie Windsor's first starring role.[3] While completely shot on the RKO lot, the film was not financed by the studio, who only handled distribution.[4] During production Denning was injured by a blow to the back, which left him immobile for approximately half a minute.[5] The picture was filmed in a total of nine days, and production was completed by the middle of August.[6]


Harrison's Reports gave the film a less than stellar review, calling it a "weak melodrama". The magazine felt the plot was illogical, the acting weak, and the direction heavy-handed.[7] Motion Picture Daily did not like the picture, also commenting on the lack of logic in the script. They felt that Fay Baker and Richard Denning acquitted themselves well, but that the rest of the cast struggled, although they felt that could have been due to the weakness of the script.[8]


  1. ^ "'Double Deal' Roles". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 19, 1950. p. 10. Retrieved February 17, 2016 – via  
  2. ^ "'Berkeley Square' on Schedule After Ty Power Quits Play". The Salt Lake Tribune. July 14, 1950. p. 31. Retrieved February 17, 2016 – via  
  3. ^ Clary, Patricia (August 8, 1950). "Hollywood Film Shop". The Terre Haute Tribune. p. 56. Retrieved February 17, 2016 – via  
  4. ^ "Double Deal: Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on February 18, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  5. ^ "Actor Hurt in Fight". The Salt Lake Tribune. September 20, 1950. p. 29. Retrieved February 17, 2016 – via  
  6. ^ Johnson, Erskine (August 13, 1950). "A Hollywood Column". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas). p. 56. Retrieved February 17, 2016 – via  
  7. ^ ""Double Deal" with Mary Windsor, Richard Denning and Taylor Holmes". Harrison's Reports. December 30, 1950. p. 206. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Review: "Double Deal"". Motion Picture Daily. December 22, 1950. p. 4. Retrieved February 17, 2016.