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Muss 'em Up (1936)

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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 93 users  
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A private detective is enlisted to find out who shot a dog and threatened its owner, but before long he's also involved in a kidnapping and murder plot.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: Muss 'em Up (1936)

Muss 'em Up (1936) on IMDb 5.9/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Preston Foster ...
Tippecanoe 'Tip' O'Neil
Margaret Callahan ...
Amy Hutchins
Paul Harding
Jim Glenray, Paul's Brother in Law
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ...
'Red' Cable (as Big Boy Williams)
Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom ...
Snake (as Maxie Rosenbloom)
Nancy Harding
John Carroll ...
Gene Leland
Florine McKinney ...
Robert Middlemass ...
Inspector Brock
Noel Madison ...
Tony Spivali, Gambler
Maxine Jennings ...
Harold Huber ...
Paul Porcasi ...
Luigi Turseniani, Head of the Mob


Famous private detective Tip O'Neil is summoned by telegram to the estate of old friend Paul Harding, but finds the telegram was sent by Paul's attractive secretary, Amy Hutchins. Paul admits his dog was shot by extortionists to show they mean business, and shows Tip some threatening notes they sent. That night, Paul's ward, Corinne, is kidnapped by two gangsters and her driver is found dead the next morning. The kidnappers contact Tip demanding $200,000, which is delivered according to instructions. Awaiting the return of Corrine, Tip learns her fiancé, Gene Leland, is an ex-convict, and he also investigates why a thug, Maratti, was found prowling around the grounds, and why Paul's brother-in-law, Jim Glenray, was seen leaving the estate late the night before. And when the chauffeur is murdered with Amy's gun as he was about to confess some complicity, Tip has to piece together various clues to pinpoint the culprits. Written by Arthur Hausner <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

detective | murder | kidnapping | ward | thief | See more »








Release Date:

14 February 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Muss 'em Up  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

A complicated kidnapping and murder mystery, but with some good comic moments.
3 March 1999 | by (Pine Grove, California) – See all my reviews

Although complicated, the mystery part of this film kept me guessing who of the many characters were involved in the kidnapping and murder plot. There were lots of red herrings, so it was fun to watch the film unfold despite the complications. What surprised me was the comic touches throughout, the best being Big Boy Williams practicing a magic egg-disappearance trick. To his surprise, it worked, but he couldn't find the egg! I chuckle every time I think of it. There's also a cute running gag as well as an excellent semi-humorous portrayal of a Mafia godfather by Paul Porcasi. I enjoyed the film because of these light touches by director Charles Vidor.

The title stems from a similar remark made by the actual New York Police Commissioner Lewis J. Valentine when discussing how his police officers should handle criminals types. The private detective in this film, Preston Foster, continually mentions he can get (and has gotten) information he wants by using a rubber hose filled with buckshot on reluctant criminals. The police inspector in this film pans that idea.

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