Muss 'Em Up (1936)

68.5 or 70 mins | Drama | 14 February 1936

Director:

Charles Vidor

Writer:

Erwin Gelsey

Cinematographers:

J. Roy Hunt, Joseph August

Editor:

Jack Hively

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Green Shadow . HR production charts add Nicholas Soussanin, Pat Flaherty and Jerry Larkin to the cast list, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. One HR production charts lists Clem Portman, not Denzil A. Cutler, as the sound recorder. According to modern sources, New York police commissioner Lewis J. Valentine used a slang expression similar to "muss 'em up" when describing how his officers should handle criminals during police roundups, and from thus the film's title was ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Green Shadow . HR production charts add Nicholas Soussanin, Pat Flaherty and Jerry Larkin to the cast list, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. One HR production charts lists Clem Portman, not Denzil A. Cutler, as the sound recorder. According to modern sources, New York police commissioner Lewis J. Valentine used a slang expression similar to "muss 'em up" when describing how his officers should handle criminals during police roundups, and from thus the film's title was born. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
5 Nov 35
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Dec 35
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Jan 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Jan 36
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Dec 35
pp. 6-7.
Motion Picture Daily
17 Jan 36
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
14 Dec 35
p. 51.
Motion Picture Herald
25 Jan 36
p. 38.
New York Times
3 Feb 36
p. 21.
Variety
5 Feb 36
p. 12.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Green Shadow
Release Date:
14 February 1936
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 1 February 1936
Production Date:
5 November--7 December 1935
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
Copyright Date:
14 February 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6151
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
68.5 or 70
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1800
SYNOPSIS

In response to a telegram, New York private detective Tippecanoe "Tip" O'Neil travels to see Paul Harding, an old friend and employer, at his Lakeside estate. Although Paul, a gun enthusiast, protests that he did not send the telegram, he confides in Tip that his dog was shot and that someone has sent him letters demanding $200,000. After concluding that the dog killer had used one of Paul's rifles, Tip questions Amy Hutchins, Paul's attractive, gun-toting secretary, who confesses that she sent the telegram. That night, after Tip observes Paul's brother-in-law, Jim Glenray, slip out of the house, Corinne, Paul's ward, is kidnapped by two thugs. Paul insists that Tip, who enjoys a reputation as a tough, "no-holds-barred" detective, handle the kidnapping, but when the son of William, the black chauffeur, is found dead near the estate, Inspector Brock drops by for questioning. The next morning, the kidnappers contact Paul and demand a ransom of $200,000. While Paul delivers the money, "Red" Cable, a bodyguard whom Paul had hired to watch his daughter Nancy, finds thug Maratti on the grounds. With Amy behind the wheel, Red and Tip push Maratti into a car at gunpoint and force him to admit that he was after Jim because he was having an affair with his sister Cleo. After Paul returns from his rendezvous without Corinne, however, Gene Leland, her anxious fiancé, informs Tip that another gangster, Tony Spivali, once had contacted Paul. Armed with this clue, Tip finds Tony at his gambling house and demands information. When Tony refuses to divulge his secret for less than $5,000, Tip seeks the help of Luigi Tersiniani, a Mafia ... +


In response to a telegram, New York private detective Tippecanoe "Tip" O'Neil travels to see Paul Harding, an old friend and employer, at his Lakeside estate. Although Paul, a gun enthusiast, protests that he did not send the telegram, he confides in Tip that his dog was shot and that someone has sent him letters demanding $200,000. After concluding that the dog killer had used one of Paul's rifles, Tip questions Amy Hutchins, Paul's attractive, gun-toting secretary, who confesses that she sent the telegram. That night, after Tip observes Paul's brother-in-law, Jim Glenray, slip out of the house, Corinne, Paul's ward, is kidnapped by two thugs. Paul insists that Tip, who enjoys a reputation as a tough, "no-holds-barred" detective, handle the kidnapping, but when the son of William, the black chauffeur, is found dead near the estate, Inspector Brock drops by for questioning. The next morning, the kidnappers contact Paul and demand a ransom of $200,000. While Paul delivers the money, "Red" Cable, a bodyguard whom Paul had hired to watch his daughter Nancy, finds thug Maratti on the grounds. With Amy behind the wheel, Red and Tip push Maratti into a car at gunpoint and force him to admit that he was after Jim because he was having an affair with his sister Cleo. After Paul returns from his rendezvous without Corinne, however, Gene Leland, her anxious fiancé, informs Tip that another gangster, Tony Spivali, once had contacted Paul. Armed with this clue, Tip finds Tony at his gambling house and demands information. When Tony refuses to divulge his secret for less than $5,000, Tip seeks the help of Luigi Tersiniani, a Mafia godfather, who intimidates Tony into revealing that Jim had gambling debts with him and was using William, his chauffeur, as a go-between. Tony then states that William had approached him with a proposition involving two hired thugs. Before Tip is able to extract a confession out of William, however, the chauffeur is shot in Harding's study with Amy's gun. Now a suspect, Amy takes Tip to her apartment, where she is attacked by an unseen assailant. After knocking out an over-zealous Gene, Tip then delivers an additional $50,000 to the thugs, unaware that Corinne is an accomplice in her own kidnapping. Corinne, who is then double-crossed by her co-conspirators, returns home and is observed by Tip in an intimate embrace with Paul. When Tony then identifies Paul, not Jim, as the gambler, Tip deduces that Paul and Corinne planned the kidnapping in order to get $200,000, which Nancy had donated from her trust fund. Tip also learns that the thugs accidentally killed William's son, that Paul killed William, and that Paul had attacked Amy because she had a carbon of a list of phony currency serial numbers that Paul had given the police. Thus cornered, Paul attempts to escape with Corinne, but crashes in his automobile and dies. +

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.