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[ # ] Roulette Still Keeping Movie Audiences in a Spin
January 23rd, 2018 under Uncategorized, Woody Harrelson

If you look back through film history, there are countless examples of scenes that contain or are based in casinos. The casino movie is a staple of the industry that stretches back all the way to the era of the big five but why is it such a popular theme and how has it seeped into popular culture?

One of the first things you have to remember about casinos is that they are principally places where people with money go to have fun. They have traditionally attracted a certain class of clientele that tends to be at the cutting edge of society, people the masses typically look up to. This led to early films using the casino almost as a prop or at least a key piece of the mise en scene to portray the very nature of the characters within the film.

Of course, as society has changed so has the nature of the casino film. Casinos are far more accessible to the "common man" nowadays, and so the movies have adapted to show a different type of population demographic using them. This relationship between the casino and movies appears pretty timeless and there is no reason to believe that this is going to change anytime soon.

If we take a look back at some of the films that, throughout history, have included casino scenes and in particular roulette scenes, we can begin to understand this changing relationship and understand more about the evolution of society around us.

A roulette wheel by Tony Lozano (CC BY 2.0)

In 1942, director Michael Curtiz shot the WWII masterpiece that is Casablanca, a movie not only considered to be one of the greatest of all time – iconic even – but also one that contained one of the earliest roulette scenes in film history. The scene involves a man named Jan trying to win in order to earn enough money for him and his new wife to buy a visa to the United States. Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), the owner of Rick's Americain nightclub and gambling den, comes over and tells Jan to put all his stakes on 22. The croupier takes the hint from his boss and Jan is delighted to see 22 hit twice in a row.  

This cries out to the audience and endears Blaine's character to them instantly as he is shown to have a heart rather than being a greedy owner.

Humphrey Bogart in trenchcoat and fedora (copyright free)

James Bond, in the film Diamonds Are Forever, uses a roulette wheel to take down a villain before winning big by betting on the number 17, so it is no wonder that the game of roulette has become iconic in popular culture.

Another great roulette scene, this time in a movie less well liked but equally well known, is in the 1993 film Indecent Proposal where couple David (Woody Harrelson) and Diana Murphy (Demi Moore) head to the Vegas roulette tables in order to win enough money for David to start his dream real estate business but instead they lose their life savings. Taking advantage of their vulnerable situation billionaire John Gage offers David $1 million in exchange for a night with his wife – which the couple accepts. Hardly the charm of Casablanca, but a famous movie moment nonetheless.

Finally, we have a bit of a cult classic in the 1999 British film Croupier that helped launch the career of leading man Clive Owen as well as bringing in over $7 million at the box office. In the film, Owen plays the part of a writer that has to take up a job as a croupier in a casino in order to make ends meet but finds inspiration in his work. He uses his new job as a muse for his writing but also becomes embroiled in a plot to rob the casino.

So as you can see the roulette wheel keeps spinning its way onto the big screen and into popular culture in a relationship that stretches back over many decades. In 2018, we can play roulette on our computers as well as on mobile devices such as tablets and phones, choosing from a multitude of variants. 32Red roulette online  options include multi-wheel roulette, European Roulette Gold Series and Premier Roulette Diamond Edition, all allowing players to win real cash prizes in online versions of the classic game. Elsewhere on the web, there are options to play Roulette Master and Live Roulette on Diamond 7 Casino. Roulette is even used in drinking games where the number the ball lands on decides on the type of drink the player has to imbibe. Just like 32Red have a number of versions of roulette available, the movies have several different takes on the popular game.

With new versions of the game becoming available to the next generation this is likely to be a movie subject with plenty more life in it yet.


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