Smashing the Rackets (1938)

68-69 mins | Drama | 19 August 1938

Director:

Lew Landers

Writer:

Lionel Houser

Producer:

B. P. Fineman

Cinematographer:

Nicholas Musuraca

Editor:

Harry Marker

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

Forrest Davis' series of articles chronicled the life and exploits of Thomas E. Dewey, who from 1935 to 1937 was a special prosecutor in New York, investigating and exposing organized crime. From 1937 to 1938, Dewey was the district attorney for the county of New York and was governor of New York from 1942 to 1954. In 1944 and 1948, he ran for President on the Republican ticket. Although the character played by Frances Mercer is referred to in reviews and the cutting continuity as "Susan," in the film she is called "Pat." HR production news items add Clyde Dilson, Jack Adair, Walter Rogers, Ann Evers and Nestor Paiva to the cast. Their participation in the film has not been confirmed. RKO borrowed Rita Johnson from M-G-M for this production. DV 's preview running time of 80 minutes suggests that the film was cut substantially before its general ... More Less

Forrest Davis' series of articles chronicled the life and exploits of Thomas E. Dewey, who from 1935 to 1937 was a special prosecutor in New York, investigating and exposing organized crime. From 1937 to 1938, Dewey was the district attorney for the county of New York and was governor of New York from 1942 to 1954. In 1944 and 1948, he ran for President on the Republican ticket. Although the character played by Frances Mercer is referred to in reviews and the cutting continuity as "Susan," in the film she is called "Pat." HR production news items add Clyde Dilson, Jack Adair, Walter Rogers, Ann Evers and Nestor Paiva to the cast. Their participation in the film has not been confirmed. RKO borrowed Rita Johnson from M-G-M for this production. DV 's preview running time of 80 minutes suggests that the film was cut substantially before its general release. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 Jul 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
11 Aug 38
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 38
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 38
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 38
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jun 38
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 38
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 38
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 38
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 38
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
12 Aug 38
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Aug 38
p. 47.
New York Times
9 Aug 38
p. 22.
Variety
10 Aug 38
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig story
Contr to trmt and scr const
Contr to trmt and scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Montage
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the series of articles "Smashing the Rackets" by Forrest Davis in The Saturday Evening Post (16 Oct 1937--15 Jan 1938).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
19 August 1938
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 8 August 1938
Production Date:
began 10 June 1938
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
19 August 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8347
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
68-69
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4413
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Hailed as a hero for his efforts against a group of racketeers, F.B.I. agent Jim Conway is asked by District Attorney Edward Greer to become an assistant district attorney in his office. Unaware that Greer desires him for political reasons only, Jim, who graduated from a night law school, eagerly accepts the position. When Jim learns about Greer's true intentions, however, he threatens to quit but changes his mind after he is assigned to represent Letty Lane, a wild debutante whose older sister Pat, Jim admires. While Jim romances Pat, the racketeers, led by Whitey Clark and Chin Martin, press the local businessmen to put slot machines in their shops. Concerned by the shop owners' resistance to his scheme, Chin Marin hires lawyer Steve Lawrence, Letty's boyfriend, to file an injunction against the district attorney's office. Lawrence also suggests to Chin that he would provide better leadership for the gang than Whitey, who uses excessive strong-arm tactics, and Chin agrees to consider Whitey's elimination. Whitey then orders his men to "put the heat" on a select number of uncooperative shop owners, and Franz and his young son Otto, neighbors of Jim, are attacked. After Otto dies from his wounds, Jim demands to take the case against the hoodlums, but is unable to convict any of the indicted men because of judicial corruption. Determined to nail Otto's killer, however, Jim and police detective Mac trick a fourth thug into identifying the attackers. After the ambitious Chin and Lawrence arrange for Whitey to be killed during an attempt on Jim's life, Jim, who has been named a special prosecutor, learns that the gang has ... +


Hailed as a hero for his efforts against a group of racketeers, F.B.I. agent Jim Conway is asked by District Attorney Edward Greer to become an assistant district attorney in his office. Unaware that Greer desires him for political reasons only, Jim, who graduated from a night law school, eagerly accepts the position. When Jim learns about Greer's true intentions, however, he threatens to quit but changes his mind after he is assigned to represent Letty Lane, a wild debutante whose older sister Pat, Jim admires. While Jim romances Pat, the racketeers, led by Whitey Clark and Chin Martin, press the local businessmen to put slot machines in their shops. Concerned by the shop owners' resistance to his scheme, Chin Marin hires lawyer Steve Lawrence, Letty's boyfriend, to file an injunction against the district attorney's office. Lawrence also suggests to Chin that he would provide better leadership for the gang than Whitey, who uses excessive strong-arm tactics, and Chin agrees to consider Whitey's elimination. Whitey then orders his men to "put the heat" on a select number of uncooperative shop owners, and Franz and his young son Otto, neighbors of Jim, are attacked. After Otto dies from his wounds, Jim demands to take the case against the hoodlums, but is unable to convict any of the indicted men because of judicial corruption. Determined to nail Otto's killer, however, Jim and police detective Mac trick a fourth thug into identifying the attackers. After the ambitious Chin and Lawrence arrange for Whitey to be killed during an attempt on Jim's life, Jim, who has been named a special prosecutor, learns that the gang has infiltrated the entertainment business. By convincing Flo Fisher, nightclub owner, to "play dead" in front of her fellow entertainers, Jim secures enough testimony to indict a key racketeer. Lawrence, meanwhile, sets up the greedy Chin in a police raid and leaves for the country without Letty. Suspicious, Letty follows Lawrence to his country home and, when Chin arrives and threatens Lawrence with a gun, kills the interloper while Peggy, Lawrence's other woman, watches. Eventually Jim deduces that Lawrence is the "big boss," but is stymied when he accuses Letty of Chin's murder. Armed with Peggy's eyewitness account, Lawrence tries to bargain with Jim for a reduced charge but is denied. To save Pat from scandal, Letty then kills herself in an automobile crash. Later, Jim, who is now married to Pat, opens his own law office. +

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

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