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Riot Squad (1933)

 |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  26 July 1933 (USA)
5.1
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Ratings: 5.1/10 from 27 users  
Reviews: 1 user

The constant battling over the same woman gets two detectives demoted to what's considered the toughest job in the Police Department--the Riot Squad.

Director:

(as Harry Webb)

Writers:

(original screenplay), (original screenplay) (as Barney Sarecky)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Pat O'Malley ...
Det. Bob Larkin
James Flavin ...
Det. Mack McCue
Addison Richards ...
Diamonds Jareck
Harrison Greene ...
Nolan
Ralph Lewis ...
Judge Nathaniel Moore
Alene Carroll ...
Peggy Moore
Bee Eddels ...
Ruth - Lil's Maid
Kit Guard ...
Pug - Henchman
Charles De La Motte ...
Shorty - Henchman
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Storyline

The gangster moll Lil Daley is assigned to lure handsome detective Bob Larkin to an apartment where the gangster Diamonds Jareck is lying in wait. However, Larkin escapes and instead falls in love with Lil, who is being courted by detective Mack McCue. The rivalry of Bob and Mack has them demoted to the riot squad, where they continue to fight over Lil. When it appears that Lil is involved in the kidnapping of the Judge Nathaniel Moore's daughter Peggy, Larkin denounces her. Lil is being blackmailed by Diamonds, however. Written by Robert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Crime | Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 July 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Police Patrol  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is also known as Police Patrol, and is available for viewing or download from http://www.archive.org/movies/details-db.php?collection=feature_films&collectionid=police_patrol See more »

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Featured in The X Files Game (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Not lost, but not the film it could have been either
1 August 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

My husband and I watched this one under the alternative title "Police Patrol," with a new set of opening credits that gave the title and the cast members but no one else — no writers, director, cinematographer or anything — though Harry S. Webb both produced and directed, the screenplay was by Jack Natteford and Barney Sarecky (who was later involved as a producer on some of the Bela Lugosi Monograms, in connection with which it's irresistible to point out that his last name rhymes with "drecky"), the cinematographers were Roy Overbaugh and H. C. Ramsay, the film editor was Fred Bain and the sound recorder was Tom Lambert, assisted by M. Leon and J. C. Landrick. The cast was almost as obscure as the behind-the-camera folk; the only actor I'd heard of before was Madge Bellamy, top-billed — she'd been a silent ingénue of some reputation, had fallen in the early sound era, but had made her best-remembered film, as the heroine of "White Zombie" (another Lugosi connection!), the year before this one.

"Riot Squad" begins with our two police-officer heroes, detectives Bob Larkin (Pat O'Malley) and Mac McCue (James Flavin), coming across a dying gangster and asking who killed him. With the rotten sound quality of this film (especially as it's no doubt deteriorated over the years) at first I thought the actor said, "No one," and was intending on keeping his *omertá* to his grave, but later it developed that the noise he made just before he expired was "Nolan." Nolan (Harrison Greene) is a nightclub owner who's the head of the rackets in town, but the real boss — at least it's hinted from a phone call between the two — is his girlfriend Lil Daley (Madge Bellamy). Nolan's right-hand man, Diamonds Janeck (Addison Richards), tells Lil she should seduce McCue so the gang can set him up and kill him, thereby eliminating the key witness to Nolan's guilt, but McCue leaves Lil's apartment before the trap can be sprung. The next day, Larkin, with his own designs on Lil, visits her and McCue recognizes his car outside and steals his distributor cap. Larkin is late getting back to the police station and he and McCue get in a fight, allowing a prisoner to escape. Because of this, the police chief at first tells Larkin and McCue they're fired, but later relents — sort of: they can continue to be cops, but they're busted from plainclothesmen back to uniforms and assigned to the worst job in the department, the riot squad.

What's frustrating about "Riot Squad" is it's actually a pretty serviceable crime story for the period that with major-studio production values and actors (imagine it at Warners with James Cagney, Pat O'Brien and Bette Davis!) could have been an exciting, entertaining thriller. Instead it gets the full weight of the budgetary limits on indie producers in the early 1930's. Webb's direction is reasonably paced (though without the relentless speed a Warners director would have brought to it) but the cinematography is bland. Scenes that cry out for the *film noir* treatment get shot in harmonious gray tones and there are almost no close-ups: the camera is miles away from the action and scene after scene gets played in a static setup before an immobile camera. Turn the sound off and ignore the cars and this would look like a film from 1913, not 1933. The acting is also nothing to write home about — except for Bellamy, who made it clear why she's the one member of the cast you're likely to have heard of before: though she's hamstrung by the failure of writers Natteford and Sarecky to give her character much of a motivation, she still manages to create a convincingly multidimensional characterization in what is — let's face it — the only part in the whole movie the writers actually made a genuinely conflicted character. The rest of it is a routine indie for the day, not especially bad but not the gripping gangster/crime/police procedural movie the story had every right to be, either.


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