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The Woman Racket (1930)

Passed  -  Crime | Drama | Romance  -  24 January 1930 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 65 users  
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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), (based on a play by), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Tom Moore ...
Sally Starr ...
Robert Agnew ...
Rags (as Bobby Agnew)
John Miljan ...
Lew Kelly ...
Tom London ...
Eugene Borden ...
Jack Byron ...
Duke (as John Byron)
Nita Martan ...
Rita (scenes deleted)
Richard Travers ...


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was also issued in a silent version, where Fred Niblo Jr. was probably credited onscreen for "titles," but no details are known. He was not credited in the sound version. See more »


He's Good Enough for Me
Words by Joe Goodwin
Music by Gus Edwards
© October 29, 1929; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Sung by Blanche Sweet at the nightclub
See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable early talkie
11 July 2011 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Blanche Sweet plays a singer at a speakeasy who is caught by a cop during a raid, but instead of arresting her, he lets her go and eventually winds up marrying her. However, life as a cop's wife turns out to be not quite what she expected, and she longs for the excitement and fun of her former career. One day, after a particular trying day at home, she goes back to her old nightclub and meets up with the good-hearted owner (Tenen Holtz) and his slimy new business partner (John Miljan, terrific as usual). She leaves her husband to become the club's singer and, eventually, Miljan's mistress, and before she knows it she finds herself involved in a murder.

This is an interesting little crime drama, more suited to Warner Bros. than MGM, but even though the pacing tends to be a little choppy and the camera-work is a bit shaky at times, it's eminently watchable. Blanche Sweet is pert, cute and charming and a pretty good singer, and few villains were slicker or more sophisticated than Miljan. Tom Moore as Sweet's cop husband leaves a bit to be desired; he's actually too old for her, pours on the Irish charm (and brogue) a bit too thick and comes across as a bit naive for a tough New York City cop. Nevertheless, it's a pretty good little picture overall, helped along greatly by Sweet (it's a shame her career never really took off during the talkie era).

The direction is credited to two men, Robert Ober and Albert H. Kelley. This was Ober's only directorial effort--he was an actor--and Kelley was a "full-time" director. My best guess is that Kelley was brought in when the task proved to be too much for Ober. If so, he actually did a pretty good job. Kelley spent his career mired in the lower depths of Poverty Row, churning out shorts, low-rent crime dramas and cheap jungle pictures for the likes of PRC, Monogram and Republic. This looks like it was his shot at big-time features, and for some reason he didn't--or couldn't--capitalize on it. It's too bad, because he shows potential here that was absent in most of his subsequent pictures.

Overall this is definitely a picture to watch. Although it was made in 1930, I've seen plenty of films that came out several years after this that weren't as well-made, fluidly paced, well-shot or entertaining as this is. Give it a shot.

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