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Bullets or Ballots (1936)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 6 June 1936 (USA)
After Police Captain Dan McLaren becomes police commissioner former detective Johnny Blake knocks him down convincing rackets boss Al Kruger that Blake is sincere in his effort to join the ... See full summary »

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(screen play), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
'Bugs' Fenner
...
Herman
Joe King ...
Capt. Dan McLaren (as Joseph King)
...
Ed Driscoll (as Richard Purcell)
...
Wires Kagel
...
Grand Jury Spokesman
...
Ward Bryant
...
Mr. Hollister
...
Mr. Thorndyke
...
Mr. Caldwell
...
Nellie LaFleur
...
Louie Vinci
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Storyline

After Police Captain Dan McLaren becomes police commissioner former detective Johnny Blake knocks him down convincing rackets boss Al Kruger that Blake is sincere in his effort to join the mob. "Buggs" Fenner thinks Blake is a police agent. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Every real citizen should see it! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

6 June 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Balas o votos  »

Company Credits

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 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film, it is suggested that Joan Blondell's character got the idea of the numbers racket from her assistant, "Nellie". In reality, the numbers racket was pioneered by black gambling racketeers in Harlem. The "Nellie" character was based on Stephanie "Madame Queen" St. Clair (Nellie scoffs at being called "Madam Nellie"). As in the film, the numbers racket was eventually taken over by 'Dutch Schultz' (qav) and 'Lucky Luciano' (the Humphrey Bogart and Barton MacLane characters, respectively). See more »

Goofs

Early in the film while Johnny Blake (Robinson) is sitting at a table with Joan Blondell talking, one of the old "Mugs" he'd sent to sing sing prison walks over to him and smarts off. Without standing, he trips the mug with his leg and punches him to the floor. While leaning over and chastising the unconscious mug you can see that Blake's (Robinson) hair has moved forward on the right side and is messed up. In the next shot when he leans back up to the table to talk to Joan Blondell his hair is perfectly neat and combed. See more »

Quotes

Johnny Blake: I just want to thank you for the kick in the teeth.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

The Lady in Red
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Allie Wrubel
Whistled by Edward G. Robinson
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User Reviews

Robinson and Bogart
12 January 2009 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Bullets or Ballots (1936)

*** (out of 4)

A hard boiled detective (Edward G. Robinson) gets kicked off the force so a gangster (Barton MacLane) hires him onto the underground. Robinson pretends to be telling them how to stay clear of getting busted but a second hand man (Humphrey Bogart) rightly suspects the detective of just being undercover. Here we have yet another gangster film from Warner and yet another winner as the film contains some very good performances, nice action and some true drama. The actual story of a cop going undercover is certainly nothing new and the film really doesn't hit on anything new but that really doesn't take away from any of the entertainment. The story this time out is also rather low key and we don't get any major action scenes but that's okay because the dialogue is strong enough as are the performances to give us the drama we need. Robinson turns in another fine performance as it's always nice seeing him play the hero. MacLane does a very good job in his role as the top guy and of course it's always fun seeing Bogart playing the second fiddle. Joan Blondell does a fine job as well even though her character, a numbers runner and friend to Robinson, is underwritten. Then for comic relief we get Frank McHugh but he too doesn't have that well of a written character. In terms of the Warner gangster films this certainly can't compare to Little Caesar, Angels with Dirty Faces or White Heat but on its own it's a nice little drama that has enough appeal to overcome its weaknesses.


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