IMDb > Quick Millions (1931)

Quick Millions (1931) More at IMDbPro »

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Rowland Brown (screenplay)
Rowland Brown (story)
Release Date:
3 May 1931 (USA) See more »
Truck driver Bugs Raymond organizes the trucking associations and takes protection money. Now rich, he decides to marry socialite Dorothy Stone. She rejects him for another, so he makes plans to kidnap her on her wedding day. | Add synopsis »
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(2 articles)
Pre-Code Hollywood: Gangsters, Monsters, and Dames
 (From CinemaNerdz. 31 January 2014, 7:20 AM, PST)

The Forgotten: Socko!
 (From MUBI. 13 October 2010, 8:22 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
"Racketeering's just getting what the other guy's got, in a nice way." See more (7 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Spencer Tracy ... Daniel J. 'Bugs' Raymond

Marguerite Churchill ... Dorothy Stone

Sally Eilers ... Daisy De Lisle

Bob Burns ... 'Arkansas' Smith (as Robert Burns)

John Wray ... Kenneth Stone

Warner Richmond ... 'Nails' Markey

George Raft ... Jimmy Kirk
John Swor ... Contractor

Leon Ames ... Hood (as Leon Waycoff)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Oscar Apfel ... Police Detective Capp (uncredited)
Edwin Argus ... Testimonial Dinner Guest (uncredited)

Ward Bond ... Cop in montage (uncredited)

Dannie Mac Grant ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Eddie Hart ... Henchman (uncredited)

Edgar Kennedy ... Cop (uncredited)

Henry Kolker ... District Attorney (uncredited)

Dixie Lee ... Stone's Secretary (uncredited)

Tom London ... Atlas Newsreel Man (uncredited)
Louis Mercier ... Chauffeur (uncredited)

Paul Panzer ... Cleaning Shop Victim (uncredited)
Bob Perry ... Bob, Racetrack Tout in Speakesy (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Tom, Man in sound track (uncredited)
Russ Powell ... Testimonial Dinner Guest (uncredited)
Oscar Smith ... Oscar, Bugs' Valet (uncredited)

Directed by
Rowland Brown 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Rowland Brown  screenplay
Rowland Brown  story
Ben Hecht  uncredited
Charles MacArthur  uncredited
Courtney Perrett  screenplay
Courtney Perrett  story
Courtney Terrett 
John Wray  additional dialogue

Produced by
William Fox .... producer
Cinematography by
Joseph H. August 
Art Direction by
Duncan Cramer 
Costume Design by
Sophie Wachner 
Sound Department
W.W. Lindsay Jr. .... sound recording engineer
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sam Benson .... wardrobe (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
72 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric System)

Did You Know?

Movie debut of Leon Ames.See more »
Jimmy Kirk:Say, baby, what do you do with your spare moments?
Secretary:I like to go to wrestling matches.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Railroaded! (1947)See more »


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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
"Racketeering's just getting what the other guy's got, in a nice way.", 26 November 2006
Author: wmorrow59 from Westchester County, NY

This film marked an early career milestone for Spencer Tracy. He'd scored a sensation on Broadway as a tough convict in "The Last Mile" in 1930, at the very moment when the Hollywood studios were desperate to recruit stage talent for the talkies. He appeared in a couple of Movietone shorts made in New York, then went to Hollywood for his feature debut in a hastily produced prison picture called Up the River. (Also in the cast was another up-and-coming stage performer, Humphrey Bogart.) But Quick Millions was Tracy's first starring role in a prestige project, Fox's high-profile entry in the hottest genre of the day, the gangster saga. The picture is built entirely around Tracy's character, Bugs Raymond, and the plot traces the rise-and-fall trajectory of his career in a fashion that was already becoming standard for crime kingpin stories.

Quick Millions is an interesting, well-written movie that offers some colorful supporting characters and several memorable scenes, but it's not hard to see why it was overshadowed by the other gangster movies of its day, the ones with flamboyant central characters and lots of shoot-outs. Spencer Tracy's Bugs Raymond is a smart racketeer who plans his moves carefully and gets his strong-arm guys to do the dirty work-- dirty work that generally takes place elsewhere, so he doesn't have to see it. As the man himself says: "I'm just a guy with a one-ton brain who's too nervous to steal and too lazy to work. I do other people's thinking for them and make them like it." He's no angry kid from the slums, no mad-dog killer with an antisocial streak; he's a cool customer who uses basic business practices, backed by the threat of violence, to get what he wants.

When the story begins Bugs is still a truck driver getting into foolish scrapes with the law. His girl nearly walks out on him, but when he tells her that he's been working out the "angles" to achieve material success we believe him, and before long he's taken over the trucking business and is forcing the city's respectable businessmen to kowtow to him. Some of his associates are irredeemable low-life hoodlums with no ethical standards at all, but Bugs makes it clear that there are limits to what he will and will not countenance. Raymond's new status brings him into contact with prominent civic leaders and their families, and he begins to clean up his act. He actually dons evening clothes and attends the opera. Unfortunately for him, however, the old gang doesn't take it well when "Mr. Raymond" puts on airs and aspires to class. Like many another gangland chieftain, Bugs' fatal mistake comes when he forgets where he came from and how he got to the top, and treats his partners in crime like they're poor relations he comes to find embarrassing. In the end he pays for this mistake in traditional gangland style.

For a gangster flick this movie is remarkably non-violent. There is an undercurrent of potential violence that charges several scenes, but when violent events are shown they are usually handled in an oblique, stylized way. (We know that Bugs Raymond strikes his girlfriend, but unlike Tom Powers in The Public Enemy he does so off-camera.) The focal point here is Bugs Raymond's perversely creative use of American business techniques, and the subsequent hubris that brings him down. It should be added, however, that the screenplay does not let Raymond off the hook: he's still a thug, and no better than any other racketeer, just a little smarter -- for awhile, anyway -- and less willing to get his hands dirty.

This is a film that deserves to be better known, and for fans of the genre it's a must, but first-time viewers should be aware that Quick Millions is more talky and cerebral than most gangster movies, and a little slow going at times. The dialog is generally sharp, but there are also scenes that could have been trimmed, and a couple of plot points that are never adequately explained. Bugs Raymond does not leave the indelible impression made by Edward G. Robinson's Rico Bandello in Little Caesar, Jimmy Cagney's Tom Powers, or Paul Muni's Tony Camonte in the 1932 version of Scarface. Still, this rarely-shown movie is well worth seeing for a number of good scenes, a memorable finale, and a great party sequence where hit-man George Raft performs a sinuous soft shoe dance to "St. Louis Blues" shortly before gunning a man down. That's worth the price of admission right there!

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