6.4/10
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27 user 14 critic

The Secret 6 (1931)

Passed | | Crime, Drama | 18 April 1931 (USA)
After rising bootlegger Slaughterhouse Scorpio eliminates his gangland competition, two reporters and a cabal of six businessmen work to expose him.

Director:

(as George Hill)

Writer:

(story and dialogue)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Richard Newton - Attorney at Law
...
Hank Rogers (as John Mack Brown)
...
...
...
Nick Mizoski - the Gouger
...
...
Johnny Franks
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Joe Colimo
DeWitt Jennings ...
Chief of Police Donlin
...
Metz - the Dummy
Fletcher Norton ...
Jimmy Delano
...
Eddie
...
Judge (as Frank McGlynn)
...
District Attorney Keeler (as Theodore Von Eltz)
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Storyline

Bootlegger/cafe owner Ralph Bellamy recruits crude working man Wallace Beery to join his gang which is masterminded by crooked criminal defense lawyer Lewis Stone. Beery eventually takes over Bellamy's operation, beats a rival gang, becomes wealthy and dominates the city for several years until a secret group of 6 masked businessmen have him prosecuted and sent to the electric chair with the help of rival crusading newspapermen Clark Gable and Johnny Mack Brown. Waitress Jean Harlow is torn between her love for the honest newsman Brown and her financial dependence on her generous boss, Beery. Written by Sandra Bockelman

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

18 April 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Secret Six  »

Box Office

Budget:

$494,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

'The Secret Six' was a name coined by Chicago Tribune reporter James Doherty to six influential Chicago businessmen (including the president of Sears- Roebuck)who organized the business community against Al Capone and were instrumental in obtaining his conviction on tax evasion. See more »

Goofs

Although supposedly set in Chicago, after the shoot-out in the bar, as the gangs drive off on the rear-projection in the background can be seen the large vertical sign for the Metropolitan Theater in Los Angeles (at the corner of 6th and Hill Streets). That footage was also shot in 1929 or before as during that year Paramount bought the theater and renamed it "The Paramount). The distinctive 5-globe Llewellyn Iron Works streetlights are also a giveaway those shots were done in L.A. See more »

Quotes

Newton: He almost got Slaughterhouse, too.
Donlin: No. He wouldn't kill Johnny Franks. He hasn't got the guts!
Newton: No? See if you can get him to admit he didn't do it.
Donlin: Yeah, I know, he won't squeal. He's afraid of what the gang will do to him. I know this bird!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Jean Harlow (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played at the party for Scorpio
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Gangster Wallace Beery takes over a bootleg operation
7 April 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Secret Six" (1931) is a fine pre-noir gangster film, right up there with a few other well-known films from this period like "Little Caesar", "The Public Enemy" and "The Doorway to Hell". The direction is fluid, the acting lively and dynamic, and the cinematography quite noirish. There is footage of an actual bootleg still operation that is remarkable. MGM didn't stint on the sets either. Perhaps because director George Hill had been a cinematographer, the lighting in this film is memorable in night scenes and dark interiors. His "The Big House" (1930) is another one to see.

It's a gangster story, and they tend to follow a well-known path, which is the rise and fall of the central figure. Gangster movies depend on the novelty of the details and how the story is put across. This one features interesting characters played by Lewis Stone and Wallace Beery, especially the latter. Beery's gang lord begins in a slaughterhouse. He defers to Stone but comes into his own. He's likable but don't cross him. He's crude and lacks finesse, but he overcomes his background up to a point. He can't keep everyone loyal, however, and killing has its limitations.

Clark Gable is a fast-talking newsman. Johnny Mack Brown a competing newsman who romances Jean Harlow.

I'd rate this 3/4 or 7.5/10 if I could. I think more highly of it than Maltin or the IMDb tally, which are almost identical. It's really a nice piece of work that flows along quickly, providing acting and visual dividends as well as some story novelty along the way.


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