6.4/10
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16 user 8 critic

The Big Shakedown (1934)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 6 January 1934 (USA)
Racketeers flood the market with counterfeit cosmetics and drugs, causing some tragedies.

Writers:

Niven Busch (screenplay), Rian James (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charles Farrell ... Jimmy Morrell
Bette Davis ... Norma Nelson
Ricardo Cortez ... Dutch Barnes
Glenda Farrell ... Lily 'Lil' Duran
Allen Jenkins ... Lefty
Henry O'Neill ... Mr. Sheffner
Dewey Robinson ... Slim
John Wray ... Higgins
Philip Faversham ... John - New Salesman
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Regan - Bartender
Renee Whitney ... Mae LaRue
G. Pat Collins ... Gyp (as George Pat Collins)
Adrian Morris Adrian Morris ... Trigger
Ben Hendricks Jr. Ben Hendricks Jr. ... Spike (as Ben Hendricks)
George Cooper ... Shorty
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Storyline

Former bootlegger Nick Barnes pressures neighborhood druggist Jimmy Morrell into making cut-rate drugs. The money makes it possible for Jimmy to marry Norma Frank, a pharmacy clerk. Expecting a baby, she wants Jimmy to quit the racket. Beaten by the mob, Jimmy works on, diluting the medications still further. Norma is rushed to the hospital for a premature delivery and given bogus medication. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 January 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Shakedown See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of director John Francis Dillon. See more »

Quotes

Dutch Barnes: Lefty, what's our racket?
Lefty: Beer!
Dutch Barnes: Beer, huh, you're five minutes late. We're going into the drug business.
Lefty: Not me. I got a brother doing twenty years for going into the drug business and all they found on him was two decks of coke.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown over a background of coins and bills. Then the lead actors are shown above their written names. See more »


Soundtracks

Losing You
(uncredited)
Music by Samuel Pokrass
Played on the radio in the apartment
See more »

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User Reviews

 
B-Movie 101
5 April 2014 | by jjnxn-1See all my reviews

B-movie without an original thought in its script. Naive protagonist used by some crooked hood. Check. Pretty ingénue who stands steadfastly by her man while hoping for domesticity. Check again. Wised up, gum chewing doll who gets double crossed, turns informant and pays a price. You bet. And on and on it goes. You can practically see the conventions of the genre click by as the picture unfolds.

It's not that the movie isn't entertaining if you like the formula but it holds zero surprises. The actors all do their jobs professionally. Charles Farrell, one of the better looking men to ever appear on screen, is earnest and callow in the lead but not very memorable. Ricardo Cortez, Allen Jenkins and many other familiar character actors whose livelihood during these years was playing hoods fill their roles expertly but again their roles are standard stuff. Also nobody could play the flashy moll like Glenda Farrell.

The only thing that makes this different than the hundreds of other programmers churned out by Hollywood during the thirties is the presence of a very young Bette Davis as the ingénue. She looks great in her extreme blondness and exudes her customary confidence on screen but her part is a nothing. It's no wonder she ultimately rebelled against Warners since they continued to stick her in junk like this even after she had attained star billing and an Oscar.


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