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The Woman Racket (1930)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 24 January 1930 (USA)
During a raid on a speakeasy, a cop finds himself attracted to a pretty female employee. Instead of arresting her and taking her to jail, he not only helps her escape but takes her out to ... See full summary »


(as Albert Kelley), | 1 more credit »


(based on a play by) (as Philip Dunning), (based on a play by) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Sally Starr ...
Rags (as Bobby Agnew)
Lew Kelly ...
Eugene Borden ...
Jack Byron ...
Duke (as John Byron)
Nita Martan ...
Rita (scenes deleted)


During a raid on a speakeasy, a cop finds himself attracted to a pretty female employee. Instead of arresting her and taking her to jail, he not only helps her escape but takes her out to dinner. Eventually they marry, but it's not long before the new bride starts to yearn for the excitement of her life back at the speakeasy. Against her husband's wishes, she goes back there and is noticed by the joint's owner, who offers her a job. She decides to take the job, leave her husband and go back to her old life, but things don't turn out quite the way she expected. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Crime | Drama | Romance







Release Date:

24 January 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lights and Shadows  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although the onscreen credits for the play lists both Phillip Dunning and Frances Dunning as the authors, only Philip is credited as the author in the Broadway playbill and in the published book of the play. See more »


Call Me to Arms
Words by Howard Johnson
Music by Louis Alter
© October 29, 1929; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Sung by Robert Agnew and Sally Starr
Played on piano by Robert Agnew and danced by Sally Starr
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User Reviews

She Married a Cop
9 June 2005 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

THE WOMAN RACKET (MGM, 1930), directed by Robert Ober and Albert Kelly, is a vintage melodrama that marked the feature talking debut of a silent screen actress named Blanche Sweet. Virtually forgotten today as is this movie, with title that gives an indication of being a crime drama about a female gang leader, the legend of Blanche Sweet rests upon the films she made starting as early as 1909, while the legend of Blanche Sweet ended with three 1930 talkies, including "The Silver Horde" (RKO), with "Show Girl in Hollywood" (Warners) starring Alice White, being the most acceptable and enjoyable of the trio.

The story opens one evening as The Blue Moon, a speakeasy, is being raided by the police. Tom Hayes (Tom Moore), a cop who goes by the book, meets up with Julia Barnes (Blanche Sweet), an employee attempting to make her escape. Instead of arresting her, he not only lets her go, but takes her out for evenings of fun, including Coney Island. Within a short time, the two marry. A year later, Julia finds that living in an apartment on Eighth Avenue and being a policeman's wife isn't all that's cracked up to be. She spends her evenings in total boredom while Tom is out all night doing his job by walking the beat. Against her husband's wishes, Julia, who had acquired a new dress gifted to her by Tom, decides to go out and visit the old gang at the Blue Moon. While there, for old time's sake, she gets to sing a song sitting on top of a piano (in the Helen Morgan tradition), thus, attracting the attention of Chris Miller (John Miljan), Ben's (Tenan Holtz) new partner and manager, and offers her a job. When Tom learns of this, Julia at first agrees to abide by his wishes, but finds she can't. She leaves Tom a farewell note, returns to the Blue Moon where she not only works and enjoys the night life, but becomes Miller's mistress, a decision she would live to regret.

Songs featured in this production include: "He's Good Enough for Me" (sung by Blanche Sweet), and the catchy tune, "Call Me to Arms" (sung and performed by Robert Agnew and Sally Starr). Choreography is credited to Sammy Lee while the songwriters go without credit. Agnew (who sings like "Broadway Melody" star Charles King and occasionally resembles MGM comedian actor William Haines) and Starr appear as the secondary couple singing and dancing as well as arguing amongst themselves regarding her future career.

Top-billing goes to a now obscure actor named Tom Moore, who appears to have spent much of his movie career playing Irish cops. Blanche Sweet's voice registers well in this early talkie, giving her an opportunity to sing a song, but of all the actors in the supporting cast, including Lew Kelly as Tish; Nita Martan as Rita and Richard Travers as Wardell; John Miljan comes off best. A resident MGM performer who specialized in playing villains, is really mean in this one, so mean that he arranges for the murder of Wardell (Richard Travers) and placing the blame on his mistress Julia, with an attempt to go away to Chicago with his star dancer (Sally Starr). On top of that, when Julia attempts to expose Miller, he knocks her out and places her in a trunk to dispose of her, and stops at nothing to get what he wants. Quite common in movies, one would wonder why anyone would tell what he or she attempts on doing to expose a villain's evil doings to the police, knowing full well that the villain in question is dangerous enough to do something drastic. As for Sweet, her character is off the screen for quite a long stretch (being locked up in a trunk), leaving reliable cop now promoted to detective Tom Moore to do some investigating.

In an after movie interview following a rare presentation of the Blanche Sweet silent version to "Anna Christie" (1923) which played on public television's 1978 weekly series, "Lost and Found" (WNET, Channel 13, New York City), as hosted by Richard Schickel, Blanche Sweet herself discussed her invitation to MGM where she was to star in the talkie remake of "Anna Christie", a role that eventually went to Greta Garbo. One wonders how far Sweet's career might have gone had she acted in "Anna Christie" instead of Garbo, but since the Anna Christie character is of Swedish decent, Sweet would have been all wrong in the role that rightfully belonged to Garbo, a natural born Swede. Since THE WOMAN RACKET is far from a prestigious movie project, in spite of it being distributed by a prestigious movie studio, Sweet's career in talkies was short-lived in spite of some promising results in the new medium.

The plot of THE WOMAN RACKET might have played well had it been produced at the Warner Brothers studio that specialized in dramas such as this, with the likes of its resident actors as Pat O'Brien, Ann Dvorak and Ricardo Cortez in the Moore, Sweet and Miljan parts, but such as it is, THE WOMAN RACKET is a rarely seen 70 minute drama as well as Blanche Sweet movie that was last seen during the after midnight hours on Turner Classic Movies. (**)

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