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The Big Shakedown (1934)

Racketeers flood the market with counterfeit cosmetics and drugs, causing some tragedies.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Henry O'Neill ...
...
...
Higgins
...
John, the New Salesman
Robert Emmett O'Connor ...
Regan, the Bartender
Renee Whitney ...
Mae LaRue
...
Gyp (as George Pat Collins)
Adrian Morris ...
Trigger
Ben Hendricks Jr. ...
Spike (as Ben Hendricks)
George Cooper ...
Shorty
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Storyline

Former bootlegger Nick Barnes pressures neighborhood druggist Jimmy Morrell into making cut-rate drugs. The money makes it possible for Jimmy to marry Norma Frank, a pharmacy clerk. Expecting a baby, she wants Jimmy to quit the racket. Beaten by the mob, Jimmy works on, diluting the medications still further. Norma is rushed to the hospital for a premature delivery and given bogus medication. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 January 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Drogas Infernais  »

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?

Quotes

Dutch Barnes: Lefty, what's our racket?
Lefty: Beer!
Dutch Barnes: Beer, huh, you're five minutes late. We're going into the drug business.
Lefty: Not me. I got a brother doing twenty years for going into the drug business and all they found on him was two decks of coke.
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Connections

Referenced in This Is Your Life: Bette Davis (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

My Own
(uncredited)
Written by Jack Little, Ira Schuster and Dave Oppenheim
Played at the Barnes party
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User Reviews

 
Cut rate pharmaceuticals
11 March 2015 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The Big Shakedown has Ricardo Cortez looking for a new racket for his mob now that Prohibition is a thing of the past. While in Charles Farrell's drugstore Farrell says to Cortez that a whole lot of things that are sold can be easily counterfeited and he has the chemical know how to do it. As it is Farrell and fiancé and soon to be wife Bette Davis are barely keeping their heads above water with the chain stores moving in. Farrell and Cortez start manufacturing things like toothpaste, cosmetics, various other things you find in pharmacies.

But when they start manufacturing their own cut rate pharmaceuticals Farrell balks, but he's in way too deep.

This film definitely belongs to Ricardo Cortez. He is really a piece of work even keeping two women on a string Glenda Farrell and Renee Whitney. Featured in the film is a chick fight between the two of them over Cortez whom if these women thought about would have dumped him. It ends badly for one of them. Allen Jenkins and Dewey Robinson make a fine pair of pharmaceutical salesmen.

Bette Davis is here and puts whatever life she can into her role as Farrell's faithful wife. But this was one of those thankless parts that Warner Brothers gave her in the beginning.

The Big Shakedown is a decent enough B drama, but my big question here is where was the Food and Drug Administration while all this was going on?


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