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Riffraff (1947)

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A plane takes off from Peru (in a long no-dialogue scene) in a storm with two passengers; it lands in Panama with one. The missing man had valuable oil-location maps; everyone who is after ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Walter Slezak ...
Eric Molinar
Percy Kilbride ...
Pop
Jerome Cowan ...
Walter Gredson
George Givot ...
Major Rues
Jason Robards Sr. ...
Mr. Domingues (as Jason Robards)
Marc Krah ...
Charles Hasso
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Storyline

A plane takes off from Peru (in a long no-dialogue scene) in a storm with two passengers; it lands in Panama with one. The missing man had valuable oil-location maps; everyone who is after them must deal with Dan Hammer, combination private eye, agent, and con man, who can "fix" anything for a fee. Nightclub singer Maxine is on Dan's side... or is she? The rest is lighthearted, white-suited tropical intrigue. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 September 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Riff-Raff  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Dan Hammer: Guys around bars talk. Anything you can find out will be worth fifty.
Maxine Manning: No thanks. That wouldn't keep me in aspirin.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL
(uncredited)
Written by Alex Kramer and Joan Whitney
Performed by Anne Jeffreys and backups
See more »

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User Reviews

Better Than Expected
12 November 2011 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

In Panama, a private detective is hired to find a missing oil well map.

I expect this little gem got lost in the 1947 crowd. Too bad, because the opening scene is a wordless tour-de-force. Catch that ominous looking lizard in the first shot, indicating the sinister events to follow. Then there's the rainstorm that sounds like the sky is exploding around the airfield. And finally, scope out the open cargo hatch at 20,000 feet, where you see three people but no parachutes. It's a tough act to follow, and truth be told, the story then settles into an entertaining, if unremarkable, private-eye adventure.

Nonetheless, there are so many nice touches lifting the narrative—the lazy guard dog, the down-and-outers needing help, Pop's belching old cab. But most of all, there's the stylish visuals, courtesy director Tetzlaff and cameraman Diskant. The compositions are especially impressive since they're artistic without being showy. And, of course, there's the great RKO team of D'Agostino and Silvera collaborating on the noirish sets.

I also like O'Brien in the lead. He sure doesn't look like the standard Hollywood dick. He's about 20-years too old, 20-pounds too heavy, and more than a little balding. Still and all, he can fire off the tough-guy banter with the best and make you believe it. Of course, having the lovely Maxine (Jeffries) fall headlong for him remains something of a stretch, but that's just Hollywood being Hollywood.

Talk about hiding in plain sight-- the map trick has stayed with me over the years. Speaking of the unusual, catch that brawl at movie's end. One thing for sure, I want Jeffries in my corner from now on. She doesn't just stand around while the hero gets bashed, even when a tricky bookcase bounces back at her.

Anyhow, it's a really good little RKO programmer and a good reason to keep prospecting these unheralded oldies for their hidden gold.


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