The Tip-Off (1931)

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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 154 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 3 critic

Eddie Quillan falls in love with a gangster's girlfriend but avoids trouble when he becomes friends with Robert Armstrong and his girlfriend


(as Albert Rogell)


(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Eddie Quillan ...
Kayo McClure
Baby Face
Joan Peers ...
Edna Moreno
Ralf Harolde ...
Nick Vatelli
Mike Donlin ...
Swanky Jones
Ernie Adams ...
Slug McGee
Charles Sellon ...
Pop Jackson
Helen Ainsworth ...
Miss Ethel Waddums (as Cupid Ainsworth)


While on a job, cocky young radio repairman Tommy Jordan meets Baby Face, enticing (if dizzy) girlfriend of jealous boxer Kayo McClure. Fleeing Baby Face's flirtatious advances, Tommy jumps from the frying pan into the fire when he pursues Edna Merino, girlfriend of Kayo's gangster manager Nick Vatelli. Can Kayo save Tommy from being "rubbed out"? Or will fearful Baby Face hold Kayo back? Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


This is station L-O-V-E


Comedy | Crime





Release Date:

16 October 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eddie Cuts In  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The name of the restaurant where the wedding is to take place at the end is referred to in the dialogue as "Sarno's" but the sign on the restaurant says "Scarno's." See more »


Referenced in Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (2008) See more »


Somebody Stole My Gal
Written by Leo Wood
Played at the charity ball
See more »

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User Reviews

Likable every-man stumbles into drama, danger, and romance
20 March 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a solid little gangster film with various ingredients you've probably seen before, but it's still lots of fun, mainly because the central player is not a gangster, but an accidental participant who is leading an ordinary life until extraordinary circumstances cause him to rise to the occasion.

Tommy Jordan (Eddie Quillan) is a radio repairman that gets a call to repair a radio owned by a boxer in hiding, Kayo McClure (Robert Armstrong). The boxer is hiding from gangster Nick Vatelli, who wants Kayo to fight for him, or else. The gangster and his henchmen burst in on Kayo while Tommy is in another room of the apartment. Seeing that there's about to be trouble, Tommy uses an old radio trick to make the gangster think he's surrounded by the police, and the gang leaves peaceably. This ingenious rescue makes Kayo instant friends with young Tommy, and Kayo promises Tommy a favor if he ever needs one. That favor is soon needed, because Tommy becomes friendly with a girl at a dance (Joan Peers) who turns out to be the object of gangster Vatelli's affection, although she does not return the sentiment. Now young Tommy has two black marks against him in Vatelli's book - making him look foolish at Kayo's apartment, and now going after someone he considers to be his girl.

This sounds like it could be heavy stuff, but by the placing of comic bits in the film at strategic points, and also due to the fact that actor Ralf Harolde's Nick Vatelli comes across as more of an angry little weasel than someone actually capable of James Cagney-style mayhem, there isn't an excess of tension in this one - it's more of a fun romp. Only when Vatelli has his muscle men to back him up does he seem the least bit threatening. The comedy is really helped along by a very young Ginger Rogers as Kayo's girl who looks gorgeous here and really has some great lines. Robert Armstrong was a versatile actor of the early talkie era, playing the kind of hard-boiled yet likable mugs in the early 1930's that make him very comparable to Wallace Beery. Armstrong and Rogers have great chemistry in this one as two people who really love each other and yet wouldn't know how to behave if they didn't have some kind of argument going.

If you like good little action/comedy/romance films from the precode era, this one is worth a look if you can deal with the fact that the vast majority of players in this one will likely be unfamiliar to you.

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