Barbara Hale and James Stewart in The Jackpot (1950)

Stewart's Not on to a Winner

Department store executive Bill Lawrence (James Stewart) finally thinks his numbers have come up, he is one of two people up for a major promotion at work and when he returns home he gets a call from the Federal Broadcasting Service saying his phone number has been picked at random and he needs to be in at a certain time to receive their call on a live radio show, "The Mystery Husband". When Bill answers the call and a jackpot question he wins a whole host of prizes and of course is happy until he discovers he will need to pay taxes on them.

Here's a rule of thumb for you; when you come across a movie from one of cinema's greats and you have never heard of it the chances are it will be an okay but ultimately ordinary movie. That is the case with "The Jackpot" as whilst an okay comedy which highlights the talents of James Stewart it isn't good enough to stand out from the crowd. In fact the story to "The Jackpot" is quite slim as we have the put upon Bill winning $24,000 in prizes and then finding out having won it all isn't as great as he hoped and just makes him more stressed.

But what we get in "The Jackpot" is James Stewart giving us the range of his talents so we have the put upon husband who doesn't want to go to work, the father who comically uses his son to win, the typical 1950s husband and so on. And Stewart delivers every part of this with a wonderful routine when it comes to the actual radio show competition where in anticipation and due to the stress he becomes a bit intoxicated. And those around Stewart deliver solid performance such as Barbara Hale as the patient house wife. But none of this is anything special and is the sort of humour which you would get from the likes of Stewart as well as Cary Grant as we get a lot of comedy from stress.

What this all boils down to is that "The Jackpot" is a fun little showcase for the talents of James Stewart which happens to also feature Barbara Hale, Natalie Wood and Tommy Rettig. It is an entertaining distraction but in truth not overly memorable.