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Riffraff (1936)

Passed | | Crime, Drama | 3 January 1936 (USA)
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 »

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Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Dutch Muller
Una Merkel ...
Lil
...
Nick Lewis
Victor Kilian ...
'Flytrap'
...
Jimmy
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
'Brains' McCall
Roger Imhof ...
'Pops'
Juanita Quigley ...
Rosie
Paul Hurst ...
Belcher
Vince Barnett ...
Lew
Dorothy Appleby ...
Gertie
...
Mabel
Arthur Housman ...
'Ratsy'
Wade Boteler ...
Bert
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When a red-headed woman meets a red-headed man!

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 January 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flor de arrabal  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A charge of negligence was brought against MGM by the California State Industrial Welfare Committee on behalf of the 40 female extras who were drenched in the prison rainstorm sequence. It contended that women who lost work because of illness after that sequence should be compensated. Each of the extras received an extra $15 as an initial compensation. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Featured in Alex in Wonderland (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung a cappella by the wedding guests
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Riffraff has plenty of sass.
10 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy find love on the waterfront in this MGM production that has a Warner's look and feel. With its hardboiled and run down backdrop it also addresses contemporary issues of labor unrest, Red union infiltration as well as managing to sneak some risqué moments by the censor.

Dutch Muller (Tracy) is the best fisherman on the dock and he knows it. A bit of a charmer he has no problem with the ladies as well. Cannery worker Hattie (Harlow) has her sights on him but the pugnacious and confident Dutch isn't about to get tied down and the exchanges between the two are usually filled with invective. They weather and eventually wear each other down before getting hitched. When labor problems arise Dutch's arrogance and pride get's the best of him and he finds himself living in aq track side hobo camp. Faithful Hattie attempts to right him but instead ends up being sentenced to a long stretch at a women's prison. Dutch in turn vows to spring her.

Tracy and Harlow display a nice down to earth terse chemistry driven by pride and desire. Muller's thickheadedness seems impervious to penetrate but the resourceful Hattie's drive is not to be denied and while there is perhaps an overabundance of shouting between the two the tenderness comes across as natural and genuine. A trio of scene stealers Una Merkle, Joseph Calleia and Mickey Rooney doing a waterfront Puck also add to the story's humor and rhythm.

Riffraff does get a little improbable during its climax but Tracy and Harlow's dogged persistence and interplay give it an irascible verve.


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