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|The Only Game in Town|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||George Stevens|
|Produced by||Fred Kohlmar
|Written by||Frank D. Gilroy|
|Music by||Maurice Jarre|
|Edited by||John Holmes|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox Film Corp.|
|Box office||$1.5 million (rentals)|
Aging Las Vegas chorine Fran Walker (Taylor) drifts into an affair with lounge pianist and compulsive gambler Joe Grady (Beatty) while waiting for her married lover, San Francisco businessman Thomas Lockwood, to finalize the divorce he has been promising to get for the past five years.
By the time Lockwood keeps his word and is free to marry his mistress, she finds she has fallen in love with Joe, who has finally accumulated enough money to fulfill his dream of relocating to New York City and beginning a new life there. Faced with the choice of a possible career in Manhattan or marriage to Fran, Joe opts for the latter after losing a tough poker game.
20th Century Fox paid $550,000 for the film rights before the play opened on Broadway, with Gilroy to get $150,000 to write the script. The play, starring Tammy Grimes and Barry Nelson, was not a success, running only sixteen performances. The play was profiled in the William Goldman book The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway.
The film was budgeted at $11 million because of Taylor's insistence it be shot in Paris, France, so she could be near her then-husband Richard Burton, who was working on the film Staircase (1969) with Rex Harrison at the time. Stevens had previously directed Taylor twice with great success, in A Place in the Sun (1951) and Giant (1956).
Frank Sinatra originally signed to play Joe, but when Taylor became ill and filming was postponed, he had to drop out of the project to fulfill another commitment with Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and was replaced by Beatty.
Screenwriter Gilroy's experience making the film inspired him to write and direct the film Once in Paris (1978), which focused on his chauffeur during the Only Game shoot. Gilroy was so fascinated by the man he cast the driver as himself.
Director Curtis Hanson did a reworking of this film with his film Lucky You (2007), which dealt with a professional gambler out to break the bank in Las Vegas. The reworking was in the adding of a female singer and the gambler's father entering the World Series of Poker where the story is set. The film starred Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore and Robert Duvall.
Opening in 1970 to mixed reviews and was a box office bomb, this became the last film for George Stevens, leading him to retire from directing altogether.
In his March 5, 1970, review in The New York Times, Vincent Canby stated, "Assigning [Stevens, Beatty, and Taylor] to the film version of Frank D. Gilroy's small, sentimental, Broadway flop is rather like trying to outfit a leaky Central Park rowboat for a celebrity cruise through the Greek islands. The result is a phenomenological disaster . . . Nothing in The Only Game in Town seems quite on the up and up. Everything, including both the humor and the pathos, is bogus."