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The Ruling Voice (1931)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 31 October 1931 (USA)
For the love and respect of his daughter, a crime boss reconsiders his involvement in the extortion racket he's built.


Rowland V. Lee


Rowland V. Lee (by), Donald W. Lee (by) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Walter Huston ... Jack Bannister
Loretta Young ... Gloria Bannister
Dudley Digges ... Abner Sneed
David Manners ... Dick Cheney
Doris Kenyon ... Mary Stanton
John Halliday ... Dexter Burroughs
Willard Robertson ... Ed Bailey
Gilbert Emery ... Andrew Gregory
Douglas Scott ... Malcolm Stanton


For the love and respect of his daughter, a crime boss reconsiders his involvement in the extortion racket he's built.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »





English | French

Release Date:

31 October 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Upper Underworld See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In the opening scenes of Jack Bannister at his desk the ornament on the desktop appears to be microphone. See more »


Referenced in Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (2008) See more »


Just a Bunch of Daisies
(1923) (uncredited)
Music by Maurice Baron
Played when Bannister gives Gloria the bracelet
See more »

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User Reviews

Emotional family drama
30 September 2018 | by HotToastyRagSee all my reviews

In The Ruling Voice, Walter Huston gets to play both of his specialties: a father and a charming villain. I've seen 26 of his movies, and in almost all of them he's played a dad! He's the head of a racketeering organization, but when he reveals his occupation to his innocent daughter, Loretta Young, she's ashamed and afraid of him. Oh, the hurt on Walter Huston's brow! He's such a powerful actor; he's credited as the man who started the racketeering business and has ordered terrible things to the opposition, but when Loretta hurts his feelings, he looks so sad and tender, it makes you want to cry.

Loretta is engaged to David Manners, whose character is named Dick Cheney, which provides a chuckle whenever he's mentioned. Besides that character's name, there's nothing funny about this movie. It's a family drama, with Walter trying to repair his relationship with his daughter at the heart of it. Naturally, I'm on Walter's side. Why can't Loretta respect her father's hard work and realize he loves her more than anything else in the world? Doesn't she know how charming and handsome he is, and how deeply she can hurt him?

Doris Kenyon appreciates him, and they share a few scenes together that sparkle with conflicting chemistry. "Well, there goes the devil," he quips as he leaves the room, an ironic foresight to a role he'd play ten years later. Walter Huston fans should check this one out; make it a double-feature with Night Court for a thrilling evening.

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