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The Racket
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The Racket (1928) More at IMDbPro »


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Up 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Bartlett Cormack (from the stage success of)
Bartlett Cormack (adaptation)
View company contact information for The Racket on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 November 1928 (USA) See more »
An honest police captain vows to bring down a powerful bootlegger who is protected by corrupt politicians and judges. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
THE RACKET (Lewis Milestone, 1928) *** See more (21 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Thomas Meighan ... Captain McQuigg

Louis Wolheim ... Nick Scarsi

Marie Prevost ... Helen Hayes

G. Pat Collins ... Patrolman Johnson (as Pat Collins)
Henry Sedley ... Spike

George E. Stone ... Joe Scarsi (as George Stone)
Sam De Grasse ... Welch (as Sam DeGrasse)

Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher ... Miller (as Skeets Gallagher)

Lee Moran ... Pratt
John Darrow ... Ames
Lucien Prival ... Chick
Dan Wolheim ... Sgt. Turck
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frank Austin ... Man at Funeral (uncredited)

Walter Brennan ... Man on Street in Front of Barber Shop (uncredited)
Jim Farley ... Detective (uncredited)
Tony Marlo ... Chick's Chauffeur (uncredited)
Burr McIntosh ... The Old Man - Political Kingpin (uncredited)
Pat McKee ... Man at Funeral (uncredited)
Lewis Milestone ... Speakeasy Doorman with Cigar (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Detective Frisking Nick (uncredited)
Jack Perry ... Scarsi's Henchman (uncredited)
Dick Rush ... Detective (uncredited)
Charles Sullivan ... Scarsi's Henchman (uncredited)
Harry Wilson ... Man at Funeral (uncredited)

Directed by
Lewis Milestone 
Writing credits
Bartlett Cormack (from the stage success of)

Bartlett Cormack (adaptation)

Del Andrews (scenario)

Tom Miranda (titles)

Harry Behn  scenario (uncredited)

Produced by
Howard Hughes .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Robert Israel 
Cinematography by
Tony Gaudio (photographed by)
Film Editing by
Eddie Adams (edited by)
Art Direction by
Julian Boone Fleming  (as Julian Fleming)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Nate Watt .... assistant director
Sound Department
Karen Eckhoff .... sound engineer (2004 alternate version)
Vladislav Kvapil .... recording director (2004 alternate version)
Vit Muzik .... recording director (2004 alternate version)
Visual Effects by
Jeffery Masino .... digital restoration (2004 alternate version)
Editorial Department
David Block .... telecine: Ascent Media (2004 alternate version)
Alfonso Gomez .... restoration film editor (2004 alternate version)
Music Department
Robert Israel .... conductor: The Robert Israel Orchestra, Europe (2004 alternate version)
Robert Israel .... music arranger (2004 alternate version)
Other crew
Howard Hughes .... presenter (as Howard R. Hughes)
Frank Lunn .... legal services: Rosen, Feig, Conley and Lunn (2004 alternate version) (as Frank M. Lunn)
Margaret Bodde .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Peter Bogdanovich .... dedicatee: Robert Israel's music
Evans Butterworth .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Sean Cameron .... special thanks: Turner Entertainment Networks (2004 alternate version)
Sean Clark .... special thanks: UNLV Dept. of Film (2004 alternate version)
Michelle Cooley .... special thanks: Turner Entertainment Networks (2004 alternate version)
Pirro Dollani .... special thanks: University of Nevada Las Vegas (2004 alternate version)
Frank Donner .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Brian Friedman .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
John F. Gallagher .... special thanks: UNLV Foundation (2004 alternate version) (as John F. Gallagher Ph.D.)
Randy Haberkamp .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
James Harper .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Tom Karsch .... special thanks: Turner Entertainment Networks (2004 alternate version)
Marty Kearns .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Jeffrey Koep .... special thanks: University of Nevada Las Vegas (2004 alternate version) (as Jeffrey Koep Ph.D.)
Laneesa Lanier .... special thanks: University of Nevada Las Vegas (2004 alternate version)
Francisco Menéndez .... special thanks: UNLV Dept. of Film (2004 alternate version) (as Francisco Menendez)
John Novacek .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Kevin Orrock .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Brian Peterson .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Justin Pettigrew .... special thanks: Turner Entertainment Networks (2004 alternate version)
Susan Ryan .... special thanks: Turner Entertainment Networks (2004 alternate version) (as Susan K. Ryan)
David Schmoeller .... special thanks: UNLV Dept. of Film (2004 alternate version)
Charles Tabesh .... special thanks: Turner Entertainment Networks (2004 alternate version)
Morgan Tegtow .... special thanks: University of Nevada Las Vegas (2004 alternate version)
Jennifer Vaughan .... special thanks: University of Nevada Las Vegas (2004 alternate version)
Hart L. Wegner .... special thanks: UNLV Dept. of Film (2004 alternate version)
Peter Wentzel .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Karin Wright .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Kevin Yates .... special thanks (2004 alternate version)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
84 min (2004 alternate version)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

The play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 22 November 1927 and closed in March 1928 after 119 performances. The opening night cast included Edward G. Robinson, Romaine Callender, G. Pat Collins (who is also in the movie), Norman Foster, Hugh O'Connell and Willard Robertson.See more »
[first lines]
[McQuigg ducks into a doorway when one of Scari's henchmen shoots at but purposely misses him. Scarsi emerges from behind the door]
Nick Scarsi:Hello, Mac.
Police Captain James McQuigg:Hello, Nick.
Nick Scarsi:Take a tip, Mac... change your racket.
Police Captain James McQuigg:I like my racket... and I haven't shot yet.
See more »
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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
THE RACKET (Lewis Milestone, 1928) ***, 5 March 2011
Author: MARIO GAUCI ( from Naxxar, Malta

I watched this in anticipation of Josef von Sternberg's UNDERWORLD (1927), a film that revolutionized the gangster genre – which THE RACKET is as well (I am already familiar with its 1951 remake from the same producer, Howard Hughes). Playwright Bartlett Cormack helped adapt his own work to the screen; interestingly, the chief hoodlum during the original theatrical run was essayed by Edward G. Robinson – who would achieve movie stardom with a similar role in LITTLE CAESAR (1930)!

Though the original was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, ultimately, I still think that the later version is superior (even if nominal director John Cromwell ended up getting replaced by Nicholas Ray!) – principally because there the antagonistic relationship at its core was formidably filled by Roberts Mitchum and Ryan! In this version, we have forgotten star Thomas Meighan as the quintessential (albeit over-age) Irish cop and burly but suitably smarmy Louis Wolheim (who would re-unite with director Milestone for his Oscar-winning masterpiece ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT [1930]). From what I can recall, the plot is pretty much identical between the two versions (for the record, I own Warner's SE DVD of the 1951 movie, while the earlier one was restored for DVD release by Silent-movie specialists Flicker Alley but it somehow never hit stores!): the gangster not only muscles in on a rival (the entire mob's come-uppance in a speak-easy, during a party thrown in honor of Wolheim's younger brother no less, is superbly realized by Milestone) but even seems to have authority figures under his thumb (recalling in this way the recently-viewed THE GLASS KEY [1935], down to a car-accident-turned-murder-rap which sends a ripple through the already murky waters) – so that, no matter what he or his associates do, they are sure to get away scott-free!

In both, there is also a girl – pretty but spirited Marie Prevost in 1928, sultry-yet-dull Lizabeth Scott in 1951 – who first gets embroiled in the villain's schemes and, then, becomes a pawn in the protagonists' struggle for supremacy (which sees Meighan transferred to a precinct far removed from the center of activities and Wolheim tripping himself up by personally exacting revenge upon the cop who arrested his sibling). On the side-lines are a trio of reporters, two vaguely comical (though their antics only seem to exacerbate the feud between policeman and criminal!) and the other a rookie (who becomes involved with Prevost, and is actually the one to bring the villain to book) – his eventual demise, then, emerges to be heavily tinged with irony!

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