The Big Shakedown (1934)

 |  Crime, Drama  |  6 January 1934 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 516 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 5 critic

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


(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Glenda Farrell ...
Henry O'Neill ...
Dewey Robinson ...
Philip Faversham ...
John, the New Salesman
Robert Emmett O'Connor ...
Regan, the Bartender
Renee Whitney ...
Mae LaRue
Gyp (as George Pat Collins)
Adrian Morris ...
Ben Hendricks Jr. ...
Spike (as Ben Hendricks)
George Cooper ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

6 January 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Drogas Infernais  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


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


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

Bad early Davis
18 May 2006 | by (West Virginia) – See all my reviews

It was films like this that caused Bette Davis to flee to England in an attempt to break her Hollywood contract. During the early '30s, she was forced into quickies with weak stories, bland co-stars and mediocre directors and was never given much chance to utilize her talents as a superb actress. She is co-starred here with Charles Farrell, who was a superstar of the silents but didn't seem to click in talkies. (He went on the gain fame on television in "My Little Margie" and personal fame as the mayor of Palm Springs). Ricardo Cortez plays his usual role as a gangster, this time utilizing Farrell's training as a pharmacists to black market bogus drugs. They start with toothpaste!!!!.....but soon move on to more dangerous territory. Frankly, I found the premise just a bit ridiculous and the acting even more so. Miss Davis looks like she would rather be somewhere else and has little to do. Cortez really overdoes it and Farrell is just downright bad. If you like Bette Davis, then you might want to see this film if for no other reason than to get a glimpse of what low grade junk assignments she had to put up with early in her career. Otherwise, it's not worth it.

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