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Riffraff (1936)

Passed  -  Crime | Drama  -  3 January 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 483 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 2 critic

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 »



(screen play), (screen play), 4 more credits »
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Title: Riffraff (1936)

Riffraff (1936) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Una Merkel ...
Victor Kilian ...
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
Roger Imhof ...
Juanita Quigley ...
Paul Hurst ...
Vince Barnett ...
Dorothy Appleby ...
Judith Wood ...
Arthur Housman ...
Wade Boteler ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Crime | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 January 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Riffraff  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


Featured in Alex in Wonderland (1970) See more »


"Rabbit's Foot' (uncredited)
Music by David Snell (I)'
See more »

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User Reviews

What did she see in Tracy anyway?
1 December 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

In watching Riffraff again I'm struck with the burning question, what did Jean Harlow see in Spencer Tracy?

Both are working class people, he's a commercial fisherman she's his sweetheart who works in the cannery owned by Joseph Calleia. He's a blustering, pigheaded, egomanaical boorish lout of a human being, kind of lovable in his own crude way. But stack him up against Joseph Calleia, foreign accent and all, there ain't a contest. Calleia is the guy all the fishermen deal with as independent contractors with their catch. He's shrewd and clever, ruthless at times, but definitely not stupid.

Frankly if it were me in Harlow's place, there's no contest. Take up with Joseph Calleia and give Spence the old heave-ho. But if Jean did that there'd be no movie.

Tracy's taking a part that normally would have been given to Wallace Beery at MGM. Maybe before San Francisco that's how MGM executives saw Tracy, a B picture Beery. It's similar to some of the roles he played at Fox. But I can't recall another film where he played a guy so dumb.

In fact the film is an odd property for MGM. This thing should have been made at Warner Brothers with Cagney and O'Brien.

But Jean loves her man through thick and thin, even goes to jail to protect him. I can hear Fanny Brice singing in the background.

Riffraff doesn't belong at the top of the list of film credits for either Tracy or Harlow. Mickey Rooney as Harlow's younger brother, Joseph Calleia as the boss, and J. Farrell MacDonald as the wise and compassionate head of the fisherman's union have the best roles.

But you want to see Tracy and Harlow sparkle? Go buy or rent Libeled Lady.

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