Fisherman Dutch marries cannery worker Hattie. He quits his poorly paid job to concentrate on getting better working conditions as union leader. Unfortunately, the union members disagree ... See full summary »
Marie is kidnapped and taken aboard ship, then thrown off at Yucatan. She winds up singing in a café in the Panama Canal zone. There she gets involved in a plot to destroy the canal and runs into American intelligence officer Crawbett.
Lil works for the Legendre Company and causes Bill to divorce Irene and marry her. She has an affair with businessman Gaerste and uses him to force society to pay attention to her. She has ... See full summary »
Judge Cass Timberlane marries a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Virginia Marshland. A baby is stillborn and she turns more and more to attorney friend of of Cass' Brad Criley. While... See full summary »
Against all odds Father Flanagan starts "Boys' Town" after hearing a convict's story. Whitey Marsh comes there. He runs away but, hungry, returns. He runs away again but, when friend Pee ... See full summary »
Socialite Jane Dale and lawyer Bill Shevlin run into each other in an automobile accident. Clummerhorn is a small town judge, sheriff, etc. and decides to try them. She is trouble at first,... See full summary »
Jimmy is drafted and ends up in Fred's troop on his way to Europe. Jimmy becomes vicious with his gun, wins a medal, and weds Fred's nurse girlfriend, Rose. Back home years later, Rose ... See full summary »
W.S. Van Dyke
Fisherman Dutch marries cannery worker Hattie. He quits his poorly paid job to concentrate on getting better working conditions as union leader. Unfortunately, the union members disagree with Dutch's ideas and kick him out. Without a job or union card to get another he leaves Hattie to look for work. Hattiee steals money to help him when she learns he is really down on his luck and she goes to jail. He gets a new job, foils a plot to dynamite the ship, and promises to wait for Hattie. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
During the prison escape when Harlow and friend hop into the getaway car, the seat backs are already wet before the two drenched escapees get into the auto. Obviously this was a second or third take of this scene. See more »
"Riffraff" stars Spencer Tracy in an odd role for him and the lovely Jean Harlow as his wife in a story involving the tuna fishermen set, unions, prison, hobos and the like. It's a true potboiler with Harriet (Harlow) sacrificing everything for her man, an egotistical, bombastic fellow named Rudolph Muller. He's determined to make good but his stubbornness and big mouth get in the way.
Tracy is ill-suited for this role, though at the time, he was mainly playing character roles, and this certainly is one. But the actor comes off as too smart to be playing such a dumb lug. A year later, his stock at MGM would begin to rise, and he would transition out of this type of role into leading man parts as Bogart did. Tracy is much better in the second part of the film, where he's called upon to show his emotive range, than in the first part where his character is established.
Though Harlow plays a cannery worker turned wife, she still gets to be glamorous in a couple of scenes where the big boss, Nick (Joseph Calleia) takes her out. Harlow comes off tough and streetwise enough to be right for the role, and she does it well. Actually, she seems more comfortable than Tracy. MGM at that point was trying to expand the range of this incredibly popular actress. The film was made in 1935, and of course, by 1937 she would be dead, but not before doing another -- and far superior - film with Tracy, "Libeled Lady." All in all, there's nothing special about "Riffraff" except the two stars, but Tracy and Harlow were always special, so it's worth a look.
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