Cub reporter Dusty investigates the murder of the District Attorney and stumbles into a plot involving a kidnapping and a crooked election.



(continuity & dialogue), (story)
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Cast overview:
Dustin Hotchkiss
Constance Hall
Pearl Vaughan
William B. Davidson ...
M.H. Thomas
Robert Hall
Harold Goodwin ...
'Speed' Hansen
Richard Tucker ...
District Attorney Martin Harrison
Willard Robertson ...
E. T. Scudder


Cub reporter Dusty investigates the murder of the District Attorney and stumbles into a plot involving a kidnapping and a crooked election.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

21 September 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Dead Line  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


Boris Karloff was shooting this movie when James Whale, director of Frankenstein (1931), spotted him eating lunch in the Universal commissary. Whale saw Karloff's height and rather boxy head and decided to offer him a test for the role of the Monster in "Frankenstein," which became Karloff's star-making role. See more »


The first name of the district attorney changes several times during the film. He is Carter Harrison in the opening credits, Martin Harrison on the door to his office, Carter again in the newspaper headlines announcing his murder, Martin in the final scenes and Carter in the closing credits. See more »


Featured in The Universal Story (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

Boris Karloff Just Starting His Career
24 April 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Viewed this picture on late, late, late night TV in the mid 1950's and taped this hard to view picture,"Graft". Boris Karloff was beginning to get the breaks he needed, this film was made before "Frankenstein" and it was also around the time he made,"Criminal Code" which launched his career as the KING OF HORROR. In this picture, Dusty (Regis Toomey), a young cub reporter on a big-city newspaper, wants to have a huge story by-line. A crooked politician learns Pearl (Dorothy Revier), his former mistress, is going to reveal their affair to the District Attorney. Afraid of an indictment, the politician orders the D.A. to be killed and Pearl kidnapped. Dusty gets involved with the murder and accuses Constance,(Sue Carol,wife of Alan Ladd of "Shane"), the reformed candidate's daughter, of the murder. The story appears in the paper and the editor fires Dusty. Dusty still continues to follow the crooks and Pearl to a yacht, where she is being held prisoner. After a big fight, Dusty captures Terry, the leading Crime Boss, (Boris Karloff) and frees Pearl as the police arrive. The young reporter gets back to the newspaper in time to give them his story. Dusty eventually gets his position on the newspaper back and also wins the heart of Constance. This is a newspaper story revolving around the City Desk. "GRAFT" is like "FIVE STAR FINAL" 1931. This movie is so crazy and unrealistic, it would really make a good COMEDY with lots of laughs. (This film is rare and is not for sale or a gift)

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