7.1/10
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29 user 14 critic

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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Writers:

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
'Bugs' Fenner
...
Herman
...
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

Taglines:

"Little Caesar" gangs up with a "Smart Money" blonde! (Trade paper ad). See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 June 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Balas o votos  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Johnny Blake, played by Edward G. Robinson, was based on real-life policeman Johnny Broderick, while Al Kruger, played by Barton MacLane, was based on notorious gangster Dutch Schultz. 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

Capt. Dan 'Mac' McLaren: I've had that attitude because half the commissions were nothing but political sops thrown to the public to keep them quiet. The other half did just what they were supposed to do. They investigated, wrote a report on it, took a swing at the police department and went home.
See more »


Soundtracks

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

 
hard talk but limited action
1 August 2016 | by See all my reviews

Ward Bryant is an anti-corruption crusader making his newsreels denouncing racketeers who have taken over the city and stealing as much as $200 million. Crimelord Al Kruger (Barton MacLane) warns thug Bugs Fenner (Humphrey Bogart) to leave Bryant alone but Bryant is shot to death anyways. Uncorruptable Dan McLaren is hired as the new police commissioner and he starts to clean house. Streetwise Johnny Blake (Edward G. Robinson) gets discharged from the force. Lee Morgan (Joan Blondell) wants him to join her in her numbers game. Al Kruger hires Blake after he punches out his former friend McLaren in public, but Bugs is suspicious of the former cop. When more suspicions fall on him, he suggests to Kruger to take over the numbers game and make it bigger.

This is not the hardest gangster movie despite having legendary Bogart and Robinson. It's cool to see them. The gun play is minimal. It's a hard talking gabfest. I really don't buy Kruger letting Johnny Blake into every aspect of his organization so quickly. Bugs should be the normal reaction. It would be fine if he's let into the organization but he shouldn't have a VIP pass.


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