6.7/10
70
4 user 2 critic

Dangerous to Know (1938)

A gangster tries to fix things so that he can marry a rich society woman.

Director:

Robert Florey
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Anna May Wong ... Madame Lan Ying
Akim Tamiroff ... Stephan Recka
Gail Patrick ... Margaret Van Case
Lloyd Nolan ... Inspector Brandon
Harvey Stephens ... Philip Easton
Anthony Quinn ... Nicholas 'Nicki' Kusnoff
Roscoe Karns ... Duncan
Porter Hall ... Mayor Bradley
Barlowe Borland ... James - Recka's Butler
Hedda Hopper ... Mrs. Emily Carson
Hugh Sothern ... Harvey Gregson
Edward Pawley ... John Rance
Ellen Drew ... Secretary (as Terry Ray)
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Storyline

Racketeer Steve Recka, art patron and political power-maker, rules his town and Madame Lan Ying, his beautiful Oriental friend and hostess (read: mistress), with an iron hand. He meets Margaret Van Kase, a socialite not impressed by his power nor his wealth, having no money herself, and Steve makes frantic efforts to win her and turns away from the loyal Lin Yang. Margaret ignores him as she plans to wed Philip Easton, a penniless bond salesman. The furious Recka, poses as a friend to Easton, while planning to ruin him. His henchmen kidnap Easton when he is carrying a large assignment of bonds, and he is branded as a runaway thief. The only doubters are Margaret and Police Inspector Brandon, who knows Recka's methods and suspects foul play. Easton is found in an abandoned house and arrested as the gangsters have taken the bonds and tipped the police where to find him. Recka offers to clear Easton if Margaret will become his bride and, while her hatred for Recka is intense, her love ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No woman ever survived his love!

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 August 1938 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Gefährliche Mitwisser See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original play On the Spot premiered on Broadway at the Forrest Theatre on October 29, 1930, and ran for 167 performances. Anna May Wong starred (she reprises her role in the film), and the cast included Glenda Farrell, Arthur Vinton and Crane Wilbur. See more »

Goofs

While listening admiringly to music by Bach, Recka says "He died in 1695." Bach was born in 1685 and died in 1750. See more »

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User Reviews

 
SELDOM SEEN MASTERWORK OF FLOREY.
5 August 2004 | by rsoonsaSee all my reviews

Director Robert Florey, who studied under Feuillade and served beneath Sternberg and Vidor among others, is at his best in this dark work by one of the most innovative "B" film auteurs, completed during his strongest period at Paramount, a tastefully crafted film replete with Florey's trademarked strengths: crisp pacing, a realistic spirit, and creative employment of expressionistic composition through camera and lighting that establishes humours for each scene. A student of cinema in all of its artistic aspects, Florey showcases to telling effect in this affair the performing ability of classically trained Akim Tamiroff, who gives his finest performance, and of Anna May Wong, who benefits from the director's use of closeups as she fills a part that she created for her stage debut in "On the Spot", by Edgar Wallace, upon which the screenplay is based. Florey's enthusiasm for Asian art, costume, and other elements of design is in evidence throughout a film that reportedly receives little or no circulation through the medium of television, with but a single public domain archive for availability, unfortunate for cineastes since there is great worth to be found within the piece, the director's endeavours augmented well by the editing of Arthur Schmidt and creative cinematography, essentially by Karl Struss. The setting is in Los Angeles, where gangster Steve Recka (Tamiroff) dominates the workings of city politics without achieving that which he most craves: acceptance into the world of old money that of course can never look with favour upon such a man, notwithstanding his powerful influence. Scorning his loyal mistress, Lan Ying (Wong), Recka courts Margaret Van Case (Gail Patrick) as a method of scaling the societal ridge that daunts him, thereby generating in Lan Ying a desire for revenge, leading to an insightful scene of suspense that Florey swashes with melodramatic cunning. A solid supporting cast is in place, led by Lloyd Nolan's portrayal of a detective lieutenant who avidly seeks an arrest of Recka for his crimes, and by Anthony Quinn as Recka's principal henchman, and when requirements of the film's "B" nature come to the fore in the script, the players avoid condescension with their readings, yet another component of Florey's artistry.


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