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

Director:

Writers:

(continuity), (story)
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An heiress with a penchant for speeding runs afoul of a traffic cop. Romance develops between the two, but it's soon complicated when he believes she is responsible for killing someone due to reckless driving.

Director: Charles Barton
Stars: Randolph Scott, Frances Drake, Tom Brown
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Director: Norman Walker
Stars: Mervyn Johns, Nora Swinburne, Joyce Howard
Smart Woman (1931)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Wife turns tables on cheating hubby.

Director: Gregory La Cava
Stars: Mary Astor, Robert Ames, John Halliday
Night World (1932)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Story of the goings-on at a Prohibition-era nightclub.

Director: Hobart Henley
Stars: Lew Ayres, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff
Lady Tubbs (1935)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A cook in a railroad construction camp inherits $500,000. She pretends to be English royalty and barges into the New York social scene.

Director: Alan Crosland
Stars: Alice Brady, Douglass Montgomery, Anita Louise
24 Hours (1931)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A nightclub singer is carrying on an affair with a married man. When she is found murdered, her lover is suspected of the crime.

Director: Marion Gering
Stars: Clive Brook, Kay Francis, Miriam Hopkins
Holiday (1930)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Director: Edward H. Griffith
Stars: Ann Harding, Mary Astor, Edward Everett Horton
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Prominent lawyer shoots unfaithful girlfriend during quarrel, has to establish alibi.

Directors: Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Claude Rains, Margo, Whitney Bourne
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
...
Dustin Hotchkiss
...
Constance Hall
...
Pearl Vaughan
...
'Terry'
William B. Davidson ...
M.H. Thomas
...
Robert Hall
Harold Goodwin ...
'Speed' Hansen
Richard Tucker ...
District Attorney Martin Harrison
Willard Robertson ...
E. T. Scudder
Edit

Storyline

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

Genres:

Thriller

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 September 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Dead Line  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Featured in The Universal Story (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Why watch this movie? Three words: William Henry Pratt
6 February 2006 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

In 1928 a new play about fast-talking newspapermen took Broadway by storm: "The Front Page" by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur packed the stage with jaded reporters, mean cops, corrupt politicians, and hard-bitten dames. And when the talkie revolution swept Hollywood soon afterward a new movie genre was born: the city room saga. Several popular comedy-dramas set wholly or partly in newspaper offices were produced in the early '30s, including Five Star Final, Platinum Blonde, Blessed Event and the first film version of The Front Page itself. Following the Hecht-MacArthur prototype, hallmarks of the genre tended to be rat-a-tat pacing, violent action, and a deeply cynical attitude that presaged the Noir classics of the '40s.

Graft is an example of this sort of movie, but it's far from the best of the lot. As film-making goes it's little more than competent. We wait in vain for colorful types to deliver snappy wisecracks or spit out underworld slang; instead, the simpletons who comprise this film's characters dutifully deliver their pedestrian dialog through scene after scene, and when the movie's over not a single line stands out as memorable. Christy Cabanne's direction is as uninspired as the script, and at no point does he attempt to enliven the proceedings with any creative flourishes. Cabanne tells this routine crime story of political corruption and murder at a deliberate pace, which feels slower because of the lack of background music, and without much humor, although the plot takes such a ludicrous turn at the finale that some viewers may chuckle anyhow. Perhaps the movie's biggest drawback is the personality of our hero Dusty Hotchkiss, played by Regis Toomey. Toomey was always a dependable actor and sometimes an excellent one (as in the first-rate melodrama Kick In, where he held his own opposite Clara Bow), but here he is stuck playing the most exasperating "hero" imaginable. Dusty Hotchkiss is an eager beaver cub reporter who forgets the name of a key witness, can't describe a suspect's face, writes a story implicating the wrong person in a murder, and allows the actual killer to slip away with ease. Harry Langdon would have been a more formidable leading man than this guy, and at least he's funny.

Still and all, however, there is one reason to watch this film. The crime kingpin's creepy henchman -- a character named "Terry," all of things -- is played by Boris Karloff, and although his dialog is just as dull as everyone else's Karloff at least brings an air of menace to his role, and lends the movie some much-needed color. Terry is a thug of a decidedly misogynistic bent: when he isn't kidnapping or killing people he's warning his boss (who is having problems with Pearl, his moll) that dames are all double-crossers who aren't worth the trouble. Hearing these words delivered in that inimitable voice, matched by the sight of those dark, hollow eyes and strikingly gaunt features, gives these moments considerably more juice than anything in the other scenes. My favorite bit comes when Terry has to lure Pearl onto a yacht where she will presumably be rubbed out, and his manner changes: suddenly, the killer oozes sinister sweetness and phony cheer. I was reminded of the Grinch promising Cindy Lou Who that he'd return her Christmas tree just as soon as its broken light was repaired.

Karloff fans willing to watch him in anything will be impressed at the way this still unknown character actor deftly steals the show from the other players, although this particular show was hardly worth stealing. Regis Toomey, for his part, would get another shot at playing a reporter in a vastly superior example of a city room comedy-drama, perhaps the best of them all: His Girl Friday, Howard Hawks' 1940 remake of the Hecht-MacArthur play that launched the whole cycle.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Graft (1931) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?