The Payoff (1935)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  9 November 1935 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.0/10 from 61 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

Joe is a reporter who is looking for his big break and he gets it when he takes over George Gorman's sports column. Marty is a hood who would fix any sporting event he could and Joe keeps ... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
James Dunn ...
Claire Dodd ...
Patricia Ellis ...
Alan Dinehart ...
Joseph Crehan ...
Frank Sheridan ...
George Gorman
Eddie Shubert ...
Beetles Davis
Al Hill ...
Paul Porcasi ...
George Humbert ...
Hotel Clerk


Joe is a reporter who is looking for his big break and he gets it when he takes over George Gorman's sports column. Marty is a hood who would fix any sporting event he could and Joe keeps the pressure of the paper on him. His wife Maxine, however, wants only the finer things in life and when Joe is on the road, she becomes Marty's Gal. That and the money that she owes Marty ends Joe's career as a New York Register columnist and starts his new career as a drunk. But Connie, who has had a crush on Joe for years, will try to make him the reporter he once was. Written by Tony Fontana <>

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Crime | Drama | Romance | Sport


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 November 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Real McCoy  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Helen Lowell is in studio records/casting call lists for this movie, but she was not seen. See more »


Featured in Breakdowns of 1936 (1936) See more »


California, Here I Come
(1924) (uncredited)
Music by Joseph Meyer
Lyrics by Al Jolson and Buddy G. DeSylva
Sung a cappella by James Dunn with modified lyrics
See more »

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User Reviews

"B" Picture from Warner
31 July 2010 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Payoff, The (1935)

** (out of 4)

Bland programmer about Joe McCoy (James Dunn), a reporter who is pretty much broke thanks to his wife (Claire Dodd) and her bad spending habits. McCoy gets a major break and raise when he's promoted to the top sports reporter but his wife keeps on spending and soon ends up in the arms of a racketeer (Alan Dinehart) who her husband has been trying to bring down for ages. Once she owes the racketeer money he tries to blackmail the reporter. This Warner film has a couple nice touches but the thing just doesn't work thanks in large part to a pretty weak screenplay that seems to just make things up as the movie goes along. Take, for just one example, the character Frankie Darro plays. At the start of the film he's just some kid selling newspapers on the street who dreams of becoming a horse jockey and sure enough, a few months later when the movie needs him to be a jockey, he's now good enough to be riding a major horse at a major Derby. The ending is extremely weak and I won't ruin anything but what we hear happens over the radio is just downright silly and is a rather cheap pay-off. The performances are all a mixed bag but none of the actors have too much to work with. I thought Dunn did a decent job in terms of his performance but I still didn't believe him in the role. The biggest problem, role wise, is that Dunn brings a lot of laid back humor to the part and it just seems to go against what this reporter would really be like. Not once did I buy the type of character Dunn created but at the same time he gave a decent performance. Dodd is really letdown by the screenplay as she pretty much just stands around running up a larger debt. Patricia Ellis comes off quite good as the girl who loves Dunn and Darro is pretty good as well. Dinehart doesn't make for the best racketeer from Warner but he's not too bad. Florey's direction keeps the film moving and it's a complete story but it's just not a very good one. I'm not sure if anyone could have done better with this screenplay so it's certainly for those who must catch every "B" film that pops up on Turner Classic Movies.

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