Bullets or Ballots (1936)

68, 70 or 77 mins | Drama | 6 June 1936

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HISTORY

According to the NYT review, the character of "Johnny Blake" was based on the real life policeman Johnny Broderick, sometimes known as "The Duke" or "The toughest cop on Broadway." Writer Martin Mooney, a New York City reporter, uncovered the Welfare Island Prison scandal and spent time in jail as a result of his muckraking. His front page stories exposing racketeering provided the basis for the script. The "Al Kruger" character was based on notorious gangster Dutch Schultz. MPH 's "In the Cutting Room," listed William Harrigan and Pierre Watkin in the cast, but their final participation has not been ... More Less

According to the NYT review, the character of "Johnny Blake" was based on the real life policeman Johnny Broderick, sometimes known as "The Duke" or "The toughest cop on Broadway." Writer Martin Mooney, a New York City reporter, uncovered the Welfare Island Prison scandal and spent time in jail as a result of his muckraking. His front page stories exposing racketeering provided the basis for the script. The "Al Kruger" character was based on notorious gangster Dutch Schultz. MPH 's "In the Cutting Room," listed William Harrigan and Pierre Watkin in the cast, but their final participation has not been confirmed. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
18 May 36
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 36
p.4.
Motion Picture Daily
15 May 36
p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald
11 Apr 36
p. 43.
Motion Picture Herald
23 May 36
p. 44.
New York Times
27 May 36
p. 27.
Variety
3 Jun 36
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A First National Picture
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Vitaphone Orch cond
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 June 1936
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 June 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6401
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
68, 70 or 77
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
2155
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When anti-crime crusader Ward Bryant is murdered, suspicion immediately falls on racketeer Al Kruger. The murder instigates a grand jury investigation of crime syndicates like Kruger's. The investigation is to be headed by Capt. Dan McLaren, the superior officer and friend of former police detective Johnny Blake, now walking a beat in the Bronx. At one time, Kruger had asked Johnny to join his organization, but Johnny chose to remain honest. Johnny expects to join McLaren's investigation, but McLaren fires him for no apparent reason. His old friend Lee Morgan offers him a position in her numbers running game, but he gratefully turns her down. Instead, he takes Kruger up on his earlier offer. Under orders from his secret partners, Kruger wants Johnny to eliminate the weak spots in the organization. Gunman Bugs Fenner doesn't trust Johnny and, in fact, he is really working secretly for the police. His job is to discover the men behind Kruger. When the criminals accuse Johnny of being a stool pigeon, he suggests they start a new racket, based on Lee's numbers game, which is very successful. Encouraged by Fenner, Lee believes that Johnny has double crossed her. After Fenner kills Kruger during an argument, Johnny takes over. He finally meets the bosses, but now Fenner learns that Johnny is working for the police. He tricks Lee into revealing Johnny's hiding place and even though she has a change of heart and tries to warn him, Fenner and Johnny shoot it out. Fenner dies and Johnny is badly wounded, but he manages to finger the bosses before he dies ... +


When anti-crime crusader Ward Bryant is murdered, suspicion immediately falls on racketeer Al Kruger. The murder instigates a grand jury investigation of crime syndicates like Kruger's. The investigation is to be headed by Capt. Dan McLaren, the superior officer and friend of former police detective Johnny Blake, now walking a beat in the Bronx. At one time, Kruger had asked Johnny to join his organization, but Johnny chose to remain honest. Johnny expects to join McLaren's investigation, but McLaren fires him for no apparent reason. His old friend Lee Morgan offers him a position in her numbers running game, but he gratefully turns her down. Instead, he takes Kruger up on his earlier offer. Under orders from his secret partners, Kruger wants Johnny to eliminate the weak spots in the organization. Gunman Bugs Fenner doesn't trust Johnny and, in fact, he is really working secretly for the police. His job is to discover the men behind Kruger. When the criminals accuse Johnny of being a stool pigeon, he suggests they start a new racket, based on Lee's numbers game, which is very successful. Encouraged by Fenner, Lee believes that Johnny has double crossed her. After Fenner kills Kruger during an argument, Johnny takes over. He finally meets the bosses, but now Fenner learns that Johnny is working for the police. He tricks Lee into revealing Johnny's hiding place and even though she has a change of heart and tries to warn him, Fenner and Johnny shoot it out. Fenner dies and Johnny is badly wounded, but he manages to finger the bosses before he dies himself. +

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.