5.5/10
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20 user 6 critic

The Racketeer (1929)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 9 November 1929 (USA)
A dapper gangster sponsors an alcoholic violinist in order to win the love of a glamorous divorced socialite.

Director:

Howard Higgin

Writers:

Paul Gangelin (story), Paul Gangelin (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Armstrong ... Mahlon Keane
Carole Lombard ... Rhoda Philbrooke (as Carol Lombard)
Roland Drew ... Tony Vaughan
Paul Hurst ... Mehaffy
Kit Guard ... Gus
Al Hill ... Squid
Bobby Dunn ... The Rat (as Bobbie Dunn)
Budd Fine Budd Fine ... Bernie Weber (as Bud Fine)
Hedda Hopper ... Mrs. Lee
Jeanette Loff ... Millie Chapman
John Loder ... Jack Oakhurst
Winter Hall ... Mr. Chapman
Winifred Harris ... Mrs. Chapman
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Storyline

Tough mobster Mahlon Keane practically runs crime in New York City. He meets broke ex-society girl Rhoda Philbrooke at a society fundraiser and helps her cheat her way to some winnings in poker. Rhoda needs the money to help nurse broken alcoholic concert violinist Tony Vaughan back to health. In between his criminal dealings, Keane takes up Rhoda's cause and helps promote Vaughan's return to public performance. Rhoda agrees to marry Keane but still harbors unrequited love for Tony Vaughan. On the eve of her marriage, Vaughan confesses his love to Rhoda. Now how will she handle her mobster fiancée? Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Intrigue, Defiance of Law, dark Plots, murder, Crime, Devotion, Disloyalty See this Great Picture Story of Life in the Shady Haunts of Crime (Print Ad- St. Joseph Gazette, ((St. Joseph, Mo.)) 15 December 1929) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 November 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Love's Conquest See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pathé Exchange See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length) (sound)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The earliest documented telecast of this film occurred in Los Angeles Thursday 17 February 1949 on KFI (Channel 9). See more »

Goofs

When Gus spots rival gangster Bernie Weber riding in the back of a taxi, he tells his driver Squid to pull alongside it so he can shoot him. Gus refers to it as a gray cab, and in the studio close-up it appears to be white or at least a very light gray. In the subsequent cut to the location shot done outdoors on location, the cab with the dead mobster appears to be black. See more »

Quotes

Millie Chapman: You're not really Mahlon Keane? Not really?
Mahlon Keane: The way you say that, I'd be glad just to be taken for him.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting story but lousy movie
25 August 2006 | by mgconlan-1See all my reviews

"The Racketeer" stars Carol (deprived of the "e" that usually appeared at the end of her first name) Lombard as a woman thrown out of society because she left her husband for a concert violinist (Roland Drew) who has since become a down-and-out alcoholic, and torn between her love for him and the interest of New York crime kingpin Robert Armstrong (top-billed). It's virtually a compendium of what was wrong with the earliest talkies: stiff direction, immobile cameras, stagy acting and ridiculously slow-paced delivery of lines. At the time the sound crews were telling the directors to have their actors speak every line s-l-o-w-l-y and not to start speaking their own line until after the previous actor had finished theirs. Done about five years later, this could have been an interesting movie, but director Howard Higgin faithfully follows his sound recorder's dictates and systematically undercuts the talents we know Lombard and Armstrong had from watching their later movies. "The Racketeer" was made in 1929, a year that despite the transition problems from silent to sound nonetheless gave us some legitimate masterpieces — Vidor's "Hallelujah!," Mamoulian's "Applause," Wyler's "Hell's Heroes," Capra's "Ladies of Leisure" — all from directors with strong enough wills to tell the soundboard dictators to get stuffed and let their actors talk and act naturalistically. Too bad Howard Higgin wasn't that strong; as it is, watching a naturally rapid-paced actor like Armstrong slog through the part in the ridiculous way he's been told to speak, one can't help but wonder where that 50-foot gorilla is when Armstrong needs him.


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