Riffraff (1947)

80 mins | Film noir | 15 September 1947

Director:

Ted Tetzlaff

Writer:

Martin Rackin

Producer:

Nat Holt

Cinematographer:

George Diskant

Production Designers:

Albert D'Agostino, Walter E. Keller

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Big Angle . The title then was changed from The Big Angle to Riffraff to Mr. Fix , then back to Riffraff , then to The Amazing Mr. Hammer and back again to Riffraff . With this film, Ted Tetzlaff, who was a well-known cinematographer, returned to feature directing after a six-year absence. Tetzlaff and a camera crew took background shots for the picture in Panama, according to HR . HR announced that eighteen-year-old Marilyn Budgeon, who worked as a messenger at RKO, was to play a messenger in this picture under the name Marilyn Messenger, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Var gives the film's running time as 70 minutes, but this is probably an error. According to modern sources, Pat O'Brien liked Martin Rackin's script so much that he arranged for Rackin to be hired as a staff writer at RKO. Rackin went on to write three more scripts at RKO for O'Brien-- Fighting Father Dunne and Race Street in 1948, and A Dangerous Profession in 1949 (see above ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Big Angle . The title then was changed from The Big Angle to Riffraff to Mr. Fix , then back to Riffraff , then to The Amazing Mr. Hammer and back again to Riffraff . With this film, Ted Tetzlaff, who was a well-known cinematographer, returned to feature directing after a six-year absence. Tetzlaff and a camera crew took background shots for the picture in Panama, according to HR . HR announced that eighteen-year-old Marilyn Budgeon, who worked as a messenger at RKO, was to play a messenger in this picture under the name Marilyn Messenger, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Var gives the film's running time as 70 minutes, but this is probably an error. According to modern sources, Pat O'Brien liked Martin Rackin's script so much that he arranged for Rackin to be hired as a staff writer at RKO. Rackin went on to write three more scripts at RKO for O'Brien-- Fighting Father Dunne and Race Street in 1948, and A Dangerous Profession in 1949 (see above entries). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Jun 1947.
---
Daily Variety
4 Jun 1947.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Feb 46
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 46
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 46
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 46
p. 6, 14
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jul 46
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 46
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 47
p. 4.
Independent Film Journal
22 Jun 46
p. 39.
Los Angeles Daily News
31 Jul 1947.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Jun 1947.
---
New York Times
30 Jun 47
p. 25.
Variety
11 Jun 47
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
SOURCES
SONGS
"Money Is the Root of All Evil," words and music by Joan Whitney and Alex Kramer.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Amazing Mr. Hamer
Mr. Fix
The Big Angle
Release Date:
15 September 1947
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 28 June 1947
Los Angeles opening: 30 July 1947
Production Date:
10 June--late July 1946
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 June 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1148
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80
Length(in feet):
7,208
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11795
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

During a storm-battered flight from Peru to Panama City, a man carrying a briefcase is suddenly pushed from the airplane by his fellow passenger, Charles Hasso. In Panama, Hasso, who tells the pilot that the man jumped, is questioned by police lieutenant Rues, but is not arrested. With the man's briefcase in hand, Hasso then goes to see Dan Hammer, a tough but resourceful American, and hires him as a temporary bodyguard. While the well-connected Dan is discussing the job with Hasso, he receives a telephone call from Walter F. Gredson, who offers him work. As Dan is readying to leave to meet Gredson, Hasso surreptiously pins a map to his office bulletin board. Gredson, the vice-president of an American oil company, and his associate, Domingues, confide in Dan that they have invested their company's money in some unregistered Peruvian oil wells and that the map showing the wells has been stolen. After revealing that they suspect a man named Charles Hasso of stealing the map, Gredson and Domigues offer Dan money to find Hasso. Without disclosing his previous meeting with Hasso, Dan happily accepts the assignment for $5,000. Later, at a nightclub, Dan meets attractive singer Maxine Manning, who goes out of her way to introduce herself and flirts openly with him. Dan also meets Eric Molinar, a visiting artist looking for a back street tour of Panama City. Dan refers Molinar to a friend, then goes to Hasso's hotel, but finds Hasso dead in his overflowing bathtub. Soon after, Dan is questioned by Rues, but reveals nothing about the map. Back at his office, which has been torn apart, Dan discovers ... +


During a storm-battered flight from Peru to Panama City, a man carrying a briefcase is suddenly pushed from the airplane by his fellow passenger, Charles Hasso. In Panama, Hasso, who tells the pilot that the man jumped, is questioned by police lieutenant Rues, but is not arrested. With the man's briefcase in hand, Hasso then goes to see Dan Hammer, a tough but resourceful American, and hires him as a temporary bodyguard. While the well-connected Dan is discussing the job with Hasso, he receives a telephone call from Walter F. Gredson, who offers him work. As Dan is readying to leave to meet Gredson, Hasso surreptiously pins a map to his office bulletin board. Gredson, the vice-president of an American oil company, and his associate, Domingues, confide in Dan that they have invested their company's money in some unregistered Peruvian oil wells and that the map showing the wells has been stolen. After revealing that they suspect a man named Charles Hasso of stealing the map, Gredson and Domigues offer Dan money to find Hasso. Without disclosing his previous meeting with Hasso, Dan happily accepts the assignment for $5,000. Later, at a nightclub, Dan meets attractive singer Maxine Manning, who goes out of her way to introduce herself and flirts openly with him. Dan also meets Eric Molinar, a visiting artist looking for a back street tour of Panama City. Dan refers Molinar to a friend, then goes to Hasso's hotel, but finds Hasso dead in his overflowing bathtub. Soon after, Dan is questioned by Rues, but reveals nothing about the map. Back at his office, which has been torn apart, Dan discovers an unconscious Maxine. When she recovers, Maxine declares Dan "dangerous company" and leaves. Maxine then goes to see Gredson, who turns out to be her boyfriend, and hides when Dan unexpectedly shows up demanding explanations. Gredson, who had enlisted Maxine to spy on Dan, insists he knows nothing about Hasso's murder and tells Dan he must find the map to collect his payment. On his way back to his office, Dan joins the departing Maxine in a taxi driven by Pop, his friend and protector, and gives her his special city tour. Later, Dan is visited by Molinar, who reveals that he, too, is looking for the map. When Dan deduces that the portly Molinar was responsible for the attack on his office, Molinar quickly offers to give him a percentage of the map's profits, but Dan beats him up and notifies the police. Because Dan has no proof, however, Rues is forced to let Molinar go, and Molinar soon returns to Dan's office with two thugs. On Molinar's orders, the thugs begin pummeling Dan, hoping he will reveal the map's whereabouts. By the next morning, Molinar gives up on the battered Dan, who is then comforted by a concerned Maxine. Furious, Dan confronts Gredson again, but once again Gredson denies any knowledge of Molinar. While Dan is at Gredson's, he notices a photograph of Maxine and goes to see her. Before Dan can question her, however, a scared Maxine confesses her relationship with Gredson, but says that she is leaving Panama to get away from him. Convinced of Maxine's affection, Dan plots with her to test Gredson by telling him that he has found the map. Gredson, meanwhile, is being intimidated by Molinar and agrees to join forces with him. When Molinar hears that Dan has the map, however, he has his thugs kill Gredson and then heads for Dan's office. There Molinar and his gun-wielding thugs confront Dan and Maxine, and during the ensuing mêlée, Maxine and Molinar both notice the map on the bulletin board and struggle to grab it. Molinar escapes with the map, but unwittingly jumps into Pop's cab and, while Dan follows on foot, is driven to the police station. After Rues arrests Molinar, Dan receives his $5,000 check and a kiss from Maxine. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.