High Stake Cons & Capers

Winner takes all in The Gamblers, a fine caper flick mixing comic relief and high stakes by veteran television director Ron Winston, starring Don Gordon and Suzy Kendall. Kendall is likely the only recognizable face here for movie fans, a British actress who had a happening career during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s appearing in such fare as To Sir, with Love and Story of a Cloistered Nun. Technically based on a Dostoevsky novel (though some claim otherwise), the independent G-rated film from 1970 circulated for many years in syndication and broadcast television.

Appreciated for its light blend of romance, crime and cheeky wit, The Gamblers is an easy movie to like packed with enough surprises for two films. Filmed in the scenic Dubrovnik, a lovely resort town in the former Yugoslavia, an American con man is cajoled by two European men into pulling a scam on a wealthy aristocrat.

The Gamblers is an easy movie to like packed with enough surprises for two films

Rooney (Don Gordon) and his close associate Goldy are vacationing card sharks, adept at swindling their opponents in poker. Candace (Suzy Kendall) is an enchanting woman they meet, swept up in Rooney’s antics. Passing himself off as a doctor on the pleasure cruise, Rooney encounters an Englishman and Frenchman working together who offer him a deal which appears airtight. All three hope to pull a clever scam on an unsuspecting aristocrat, splitting the proceeds and getting away before being caught.

Director Ron Winston mostly worked jobs in television and the cast is largely comprised of secondary character actors outside of Suzy Kendall, who fills in nicely as the female love interest. Don Gordon and Suzy Kendall have smooth chemistry though their relationship isn’t a huge focus. The ensemble cast meshes nicely together, a mix of working actors and steady performers. There are some fun gags tossed into the plot, like a wacky kung fu sub-plot involving Hong Kong comedic actor Richard Ng.

The Gamblers is one of those small surprises people used to regularly encounter on local television reruns, a smart b-movie comedy with engaging characters. It’s not a classic but catches you off-guard with its unassuming cast and twisting story. Not the greatest film ever but definitely a pleasant side excursion.


VCI credits the so-so Blu-ray transfer for the 1970 35mm production to Blair & Associates. Making its Hi-def debut for the first time, The Gamblers is presented in an acceptably solid 1.78:1 presentation. The cinematography takes advantage of the gorgeous setting in the Adriatic Sea, boasting nice clarity.

Taken from healthy elements with negligible damage, fine detail is on the softer side and possibly filtered. This is certainly no modern 4K scan from the negative.

The main feature runs an uncut 92 minutes on a BD-25. The AVC encode isn’t really tested thanks to clean cinematography. What could be improved are the contrast and weaker colors, mildly washed out and overly brightened. Interiors are often stronger in appearance with sharper definition and better detail.

The Gamblers isn’t getting a second crack on BD. This disc from VCI is it. While the film transfer isn’t state-of-the-art, passable improvements in grain reproduction and overall clarity exude serviceable 1080p quality.


The original English audio is heard in adequate mono 2.0 PCM sound. A brassy score by John Morris is harsh in the upper registers. There’s clear surface hiss in the mildly dated recording. Dialogue reproduction is intelligible. Acceptable but limited quality reflects the film’s b-movie status.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font.


VCI includes a new commentary by podcaster and film historian Robert Kelly as the sole bonus feature. The disc is coded for all regions.

VCI Trailer (00:35 in HD)

Audio Commentary by Robert Kelly – A fairly bland but informative discussion provides context and pertinent background details on the film and cast.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

The Gamblers
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


A lovely little caper flick from the early ’70s sees a con man getting what he deserves packed with plenty of twists and turns

User Review
4 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 38 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots ripped directly from the Blu-ray:

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