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The Big Boodle

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Director  Richard Wilson
Running time  1h 24m
Distributor  United Artists
5.6/10 IMDb

Genres  Film noir, Thriller
Language  English
The Big Boodle movie poster

Release date  1957
Writer  Jo Eisinger (screenplay), Robert Sylvester (novel)
Cast  Rossana Rory ('Fina' Ferrer), Errol Flynn (Ned Sherwood), Francisco Canero (Police Doctor (as Dr. Francisco Canero)), Louis Oquendo (Detective (as Luis Oquendo)), Pedro Armendáriz (Col. Mastegui (as Pedro Armendariz)), Charles Todd (U.S. Treasury Agent Griswold)
Similar movies  The Garment Jungle (1957), Trapped (1949), The Case Against Brooklyn (1958), Storm Fear (1955), Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949)
Tagline  Flynn's Red-Hot in Hell-Hot Havana!

The big boodle

The Big Boodle is a 1957 American crime film directed by Richard Wilson, and starring Errol Flynn, Pedro Armendáriz, Rossana Rory, and Gia Scala, set in Cuba.


The Big Boodle wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters6578p6578p

The movie was also known as Night in Havana.


El chori en la pandilla del soborno the big boodle



Ned Sherwood, a blackjack dealer in a Havana casino, is given some counterfeit peso bills by a woman. He confronts the woman with the fact they are counterfeit, but she denies it and leaves.

The Big Boodle The Horn Section Film Review THE BIG BOODLE 1957

That night, on his way home, two thugs attack Ned but run off when the police are summoned. Guillermo Mastegui, Chief of the Secret Section of the Cuban National Police, interrogates Ned about the attack and accuses him of being involved in a plan to flood Cuba with worthless currency. Mastegui and a U.S. Treasury agent plan to have Ned followed in the hope that he will lead them to the head counterfeiter.

The Big Boodle A Review by Dan Stumpf THE BIG BOODLE Book and Film

Ned loses his job and can't leave Cuba. He meets with a young woman, Anita Ferrer, who believes that he has the bills, as well as the engraving plates they were made from, and offers to buy them. Anita takes him to meet her father, who is president of the Bank of Cuba.

Señor Ferrer explains to Ned that Mastegui suspects that three million counterfeit pesos, manufactured in Chicago, are about to be laundered through the bank. Because this act would destroy confidence in the bank and in the government, Ferrer is anxious to discover who is behind the plot. Ned tells Ferrer that he knows nothing about the matter and is about to leave when Ferrer's other daughter, Josefina, returns home and Ned recognizes her as the woman who passed him the notes in the casino, but says nothing.

When "Fina" agrees to a meeting with Ned, she again denies any involvement in the counterfeiting, but offers to be seen with him in the hope of having the ringleaders show their hand.

After visiting several nightclubs, Fina admits that she took the counterfeit money from the pocket of Carlos Rubi, her sister's boyfriend.

Upon leaving a club, Ned and Fina are kidnapped by Miguel Collada, a trusted banking aide of her father, and his henchman Chuchu. Collada reveals that he is behind the scheme to substitute the counterfeit bills, which have now been chemically aged, for bundles of old, withdrawn bills that are to be burned under his supervision. He will then keep the genuine, old currency, but fears that his associate, Rubi, may have stolen the plates, which could connect him to the swindle.

To help Ned, with whom she is falling in love, Fina suggests to Collada that Rubi may have hidden the plates in El Morro Castle where Rubi, she and Anita used to play as children. Meanwhile, Anita meets with Rubi to try to extricate themselves from Collada's scheme in which they became involved in order to pay off substantial debts.

After Collada and Fina depart for El Morro, leaving Chuchu to guard Ned, Rubi comes to the house intending to kill Collada, but is shot and killed by Chuchu.

Ned escapes, alerts Mastegui, then goes with Anita to El Morro. When they catch up with Collada and Fina, Collada uses Fina as a shield during a gunfight. Anita tries to bargain with him, but is killed by Collada. Ned jumps on Collada and they fight on the castle's parapet until Collada falls, with the plates, into the sea and is eaten by sharks.

To protect Ferrer from the knowledge of Anita's wrongdoing, Mastegui declares that she has died a hero and considers the case closed. Ned and Fina walk off together.


  • Errol Flynn as Ned Sherwood
  • Pedro Armendáriz as Col. Mastegui
  • Rossana Rory as "Fina" Ferrer
  • Gia Scala as Anita Ferrer
  • Francisco Canero as Police doctor
  • Luis Oquendo as Detective
  • Charles Todd as U.S. Treasury Agent Griswold
  • Enrique Cruz Alvarez as Police lt.
  • Rogelio Hernández as Miguel Salcito
  • Carlos Mas as Chuchu
  • Jacques Aubuchon as Miguel Collada
  • Guillermo Alvarez Guedes as Casino manager
  • Aurora Pita as Linen shop girl
  • Velia Martinez as Salcito's Secretary
  • Sandro Giglio as Armando Ferrer
  • Production

    The film was based on a 1954 novel by Richard Sylvester. The New York Times wrote that "Sylvester offers a dazzling yet believable new method of making counterfeit money, a credible private detective, an agreeable half-humorous style and much background detail on the history and atmosphere of Cuba - in all, just about enough to atone for a coincidental and episodic story and an irritating number of howlers in Spanish." The Chicago Daily Tribune called it a "rugged slap bang adventure... at times engaging, at times superfluously vulgar."

    An earlier Sylvester novel Rough Sketch, had been filmed as We Were Strangers. The Cuban government, via its cultural representative in the US, Roberto Hernandez, approached Sylvester, offering facilities and possibly some financing for a movie version of the book. Sylvester was enthusiastic, stating that "in addition to having all that colorful, authentic scenery and police clearance and co operation - always a big help - the picture could be made inexpensively. It begins, briefly, here in New York as an American private eye heads to Cuba. From then on, the rest of the characters - and there are four main ones - are islanders."

    Darcy Miller bought the film rights and announced plans to produce and direct. This fell through but a few months later it was announced film rights had been optioned by Lewis Blumberg, son of Nate Blumberg, chairman of Universal International. Blumberg signed a deal with United Artists, but did not want to film in Cuba.

    Errol Flynn signed to star in March 1956. The film was directed by Richard Wilson who first met Flynn when he and Orson Welles hired Flynn's yacht for The Lady from Shanghai.

    Linda Christian discussed playing a female lead. Eventually Rosanna Rory took the part. Pedro Armendariz flew in from Italy to play the lead.

    Filming did eventually take place in Cuba, starting in May 1956. Shooting mostly took place in Havana. The climax was shot at Morro Castle. It was one of the first movies shot there, and used many of the cast and crew from The Sharkfighters.


    The Los Angeles Times called the film "a fair-to-middling screen drama... the story gets pretty well muddled... Director Richard Wilson manages to keep his mimes moving around briskly. As for Flynn - well, he's the same Errol, albeit a bit older." The New York Times said the film was "fairly taut during most of the route, if somewhat locquatious, director Richard Wilson has kept his principals moving at a brisk pace against an authentic background."

    Flynn would return to Cuba to make another movie, Assault of the Cuban Rebel Girls.


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