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The Racket (1951)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,508 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 15 critic

The big national crime syndicate has moved into town, partnering up with local crime boss Nick Scanlon. There are only two problems: First, Nick is the violent type, preferring to do things... See full summary »

Directors:

, (uncredited) , 3 more credits »

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Racket (1951)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Joyce Mackenzie ...
Mary McQuigg (as Joyce MacKenzie)
Robert Hutton ...
Virginia Huston ...
Lucy Johnson
...
Walter Sande ...
Precinct Sgt. Jim Delaney
...
Harry Craig (Crime Commission chief investigator)
Don Porter ...
R.G. Connolly
Walter Baldwin ...
Booking Sgt. Sullivan
Brett King ...
Richard Karlan ...
Breeze Enright
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Storyline

The big national crime syndicate has moved into town, partnering up with local crime boss Nick Scanlon. There are only two problems: First, Nick is the violent type, preferring to do things the old-fashioned way instead of using the syndicate's more genteel methods. The second problem is McQuigg, the only honest police captain on the force, and his loyal patrolman, Johnson. Together, they take on the violent Nick and try to foil the syndicate's plans to elect Welch, the crooked prosecutor running for a crooked judgeship. Written by Martin Lewison <lewison+@pitt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

YOU'LL LEARN WHO PAYS OFF WHO -- AND WHY! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 December 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Syndikat  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's director John Cromwell was in the Broadway play "The Racket" which opened on November 27, 1927. He starred as McQuigg, the role played in the film by Robert Mitchum. See more »

Goofs

Nick Scanlon's car is a 1949 Chrysler Crown Imperial limo. In the crash scene, an older 1942 model was used. The '49 side trim has been added, but the different front end reveals the switch. See more »

Quotes

Lucy Johnson: What if we had three kids?
Officer Bob Johnson: You'd be half done. I want six.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Big Steal: Look Behind You (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Harold Adamson
Performed by Lizabeth Scott (dubbed)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"The Racket" ls A Slow Moving Movie That Shows Its Age
7 August 2007 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Throughout the movie, there are references made to the "old man," the leader of the organization that all the shady characters work for, an unseen presence who only contacts his underlings by telephone. I wonder if Howard Hughes knew when he was making this movie that was how he, Howard, was going to end up, always staying in the shadows as he operated his empire by telephone. Probably not, Howard was a hands on guy who mostly damaged the movies he worked on.

Whether anyone could have remade the 20's play and movie The Racket into a good movie is an open question. The movie has a few flaws: a script that is 20 years out of place, too much talk, a wildly improbable gangster played by scenery chewing Robert Ryan and much of the action confined to a police precinct house that is staffed with two or three cop extras and no extras as civilian walk-ins. The scene at the start where all the cops line up for roll call and Robert Mitchum reads them the riot act, if they take one payoff they are out, is laughable.

It seems from this speech that this is Mitchum's first day as Captain of the 7th Precinct, where he was reassigned because he was honest and arrested the wrong people. Yet, in this same precinct is the headquarters of Acme Real Estate, in an office building, the front company for the organization. Higgins, who works for the crime organization, is bumped off as he leaves Acme and, the scripts says, the murder will investigated by Mitchum, since the murder took place in the 7th Precinct. Why would a crime organization get Mitchum's character reassigned to a precinct where their headquarters are? I saw this movie on the Warner film noir DVD but I did not listen to the commentary, so I don't know if there is an explanation for this plot hole. At about the same time as this move was in release, in 1951, Warner Bros. had released Humphrey Bogart in The Enforcer and James Cagney had been in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, both movies that move at light speed compared to The Racket. These two other movies also had government groups investigating crime organizations, but that is their only similarity with The Racket.

The Racket is a good example of tired scriptwriters going through the motions to collect a salary and of actors doing a good job collecting a paycheck. There is only one plus in this entire movie, William Conrad doing a fine job playing the cynical Sergeant Turk.


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