Two Smart People

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Two Smart People
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJules Dassin
Screenplay byLeslie Charteris
Ethel Hill
Story byRalph Wheelwright
Allan Kenward
Produced byRalph Wheelwright
StarringLucille Ball
John Hodiak
Lloyd Nolan
CinematographyKarl Freund
Edited byChester W. Schaeffer
Music byGeorge Bassman
Distributed byLoew's Inc.
Release date
  • June 4, 1946 (1946-06-04)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1 million[1]
Box office$1.2 million[1]

Two Smart People is a 1946 American crime drama film directed by Jules Dassin and starring Lucille Ball and John Hodiak, Lloyd Nolan and Hugo Haas.[2]


Ace Connors (John Hodiak) is a con man who has half a million dollars in bonds hidden in a cookbook. When he tries to sell a bogus oil investment to Dwight Chadwick (Lloyd Corrigan) at a Beverly Hills hotel, Dwight's attractive friend, Ricki Woodner (Lucille Ball), intervenes with a scam of her own.

Ace is about to go to prison for his part in the theft of the bonds. He arranges a deal to reduce his sentence by testifying, angering his former partner in crime, Fly Feletti (Elisha Cook, Jr.).

A cop, Bob Simms (Lloyd Nolan), is assigned to accompany Ace on the train from Los Angeles to New York. The passengers include Ricki, who is falling for Ace and wants to help, and Fly, who wants to keep Ace from making it to New York.

Along the way, Ace and Ricki manage to get off the train in New Orleans to enjoy Mardi Gras together. When they do, Ace leaves the book at a costume shop, confident no one will notice it until he returns for it. During a romantic moment around midnight, Ace reveals to Ricki where he's hidden the bonds. Fly makes his move, but Simms is able to beat him to the draw. Ace fears that con artist Ricki has taken it on the lam with his dough, but she turns up, ready to wait for Ace till he's out of Sing Sing.


Box office[edit]

The film earned $871,000 in the US and Canada and $328,000 elsewhere causing MGM a loss of $252,000.[1]


When the film was released the film critic for The New York Times panned it, writing, "Except for a lively and colorful series of Mardi Gras sequences in New Orleans, which are introduced quite late in the picture, Two Smart People is an otherwise dreadfully boring hodgepodge about love and the confidence racket ... John Hodiak and Lucille Ball are the principals and they are painfully defeated by the script at almost every turn. Lloyd Nolan as the patient sleuth fares a little better, however. But in addition to its pedestrian plot, Two Smart People also suffers from lack of competent direction."[3]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ Two Smart People at the TCM Movie Database.
  3. ^ The New York Times, film review, February 15, 1947. Accessed: July 13, 2013.

External links[edit]