Dangerous to Know (1938)

70 mins | Melodrama | 11 March 1938

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HISTORY

Edgar Wallace's play opened in New York on 29 Oct 1930 and was published as a novel in 1932. According to Wallace biographers, the play was written in four days and was based on the career of Al Capone. Anna May Wong reprised her stage role from the New York production in the movie. Passages from symphonies by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky , played by "Recka" during numerous scenes, were blended into the musical score. Early HR production charts list Charles Schoenbaum as photographer. According to contemporary sources, Wong capitalized on the success of the film when she toured on behalf of Chinese war ... More Less

Edgar Wallace's play opened in New York on 29 Oct 1930 and was published as a novel in 1932. According to Wallace biographers, the play was written in four days and was based on the career of Al Capone. Anna May Wong reprised her stage role from the New York production in the movie. Passages from symphonies by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky , played by "Recka" during numerous scenes, were blended into the musical score. Early HR production charts list Charles Schoenbaum as photographer. According to contemporary sources, Wong capitalized on the success of the film when she toured on behalf of Chinese war relief. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Feb 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
14 Mar 1938.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 37
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 37
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 38
p. 2.
Motion Picture Daily
2 Mar 38
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
29 Jan 38
p. 39.
Motion Picture Herald
5 Mar 38
p. 40.
Motion Picture Review
26 Feb 1938.
---
New York Times
11 Mar 38
p. 15.
Variety
16 Mar 38
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play On the Spot by Edgar Wallace (London, 2 Apr 1930).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
Selections from the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
DETAILS
Release Date:
11 March 1938
Production Date:
late November--late December 1937
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
11 March 1938
Copyright Number:
LP7875
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3989
SYNOPSIS

At City Hall, Nicolai "Nicky" Kusnoff, gangster Stephen Recka's henchman, overhears city councilman Murkil plotting with John Rance to take over the mayor's office. Madame Lan Ying, Recka's mistress, hosts a birthday party for him, which is attended by those who want a share in his city-wide power. Recka becomes interested in socialite Margaret Van Kase when she attends the party without an invitation. That evening, Recka coldly murders Rance after forcing him to write a suicide note. City inspector Brandon believes Recka is responsible for eight deaths, but has no evidence to convict him. Brandon and Recka share the same birthday, and for the seventh year in a row, Brandon refuses Recka's birthday "gift," a bribe. At the racetrack, Nicky reports to Recka on Margaret's fiancé, a handsome bond salesman named Philip Easton. Recka, who models himself after Napoleon Bonaparte, buys a large amount of bonds from Phil, then attends a society dinner with Margaret. Nicky impetuously reveals to Lan Ying that Recka plans to wed Margaret, after which Lan Ying warns Recka that trying to enter society is reaching beyond his grasp. Recka arranges with Crouch and Hanley to rob Phil's bonds in a manner that makes Phil appear an accessory to the crime. When Margaret calls on Recka, he promises to have Phil freed if she will marry him. Crouch and Hanley double-cross Recka, however, and keep the bonds, then are caught speeding by the police. After Lan Ying gives Phil airplane tickets that Recka had bought for a flight with Margaret, Brandon arrests Nicky to keep him from murdering Phil. Lan Ying refuses a large check offered ... +


At City Hall, Nicolai "Nicky" Kusnoff, gangster Stephen Recka's henchman, overhears city councilman Murkil plotting with John Rance to take over the mayor's office. Madame Lan Ying, Recka's mistress, hosts a birthday party for him, which is attended by those who want a share in his city-wide power. Recka becomes interested in socialite Margaret Van Kase when she attends the party without an invitation. That evening, Recka coldly murders Rance after forcing him to write a suicide note. City inspector Brandon believes Recka is responsible for eight deaths, but has no evidence to convict him. Brandon and Recka share the same birthday, and for the seventh year in a row, Brandon refuses Recka's birthday "gift," a bribe. At the racetrack, Nicky reports to Recka on Margaret's fiancé, a handsome bond salesman named Philip Easton. Recka, who models himself after Napoleon Bonaparte, buys a large amount of bonds from Phil, then attends a society dinner with Margaret. Nicky impetuously reveals to Lan Ying that Recka plans to wed Margaret, after which Lan Ying warns Recka that trying to enter society is reaching beyond his grasp. Recka arranges with Crouch and Hanley to rob Phil's bonds in a manner that makes Phil appear an accessory to the crime. When Margaret calls on Recka, he promises to have Phil freed if she will marry him. Crouch and Hanley double-cross Recka, however, and keep the bonds, then are caught speeding by the police. After Lan Ying gives Phil airplane tickets that Recka had bought for a flight with Margaret, Brandon arrests Nicky to keep him from murdering Phil. Lan Ying refuses a large check offered by Recka and warns him that she will not be waiting if he returns, playing a record of "Thanks for the Memory" as a farewell. Although still determined to marry Margaret, Recka is nonetheless confused and lonely and plays a Tchaikovsky piece on his pipe organ. Behind him Lan Ying commits suicide with a knife, and just as Recka realizes something unexpected has happened, Brandon enters and arrests him. Brandon intends that Recka be convicted as the murderer of Lan Ying and thus pay for any other crimes for which he was never tried. Nicky foolishly imagines himself as Recka's successor, while Phil and Margaret fly to their honeymoon. +

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

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