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28 user 16 critic

The Secret 6 (1931)

Passed | | Crime, Drama | 18 April 1931 (USA)
After rising bootlegger Slaughterhouse Scorpio eliminates his gangland competition, two reporters and a cabal of six businessmen work to expose him.

Director:

George W. Hill (as George Hill)

Writer:

Frances Marion (story and dialogue)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Wallace Beery ... Louis Scorpio
Lewis Stone ... Richard Newton - Attorney at Law
Johnny Mack Brown ... Hank Rogers (as John Mack Brown)
Jean Harlow ... Anne Courtland
Marjorie Rambeau ... Peaches
Paul Hurst ... Nick Mizoski - the Gouger
Clark Gable ... Carl Luckner
Ralph Bellamy ... Johnny Franks
John Miljan ... Joe Colimo
DeWitt Jennings ... Chief of Police Donlin
Murray Kinnell ... Metz - the Dummy
Fletcher Norton ... Jimmy Delano
Louis Natheaux ... Eddie
Frank McGlynn Sr. ... Judge (as Frank McGlynn)
Theodore von Eltz ... District Attorney Keeler (as Theodore Von Eltz)
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Storyline

Bootlegger/cafe owner Johnny Franks recruits crude working man Louis 'Slaughterhouse' Scorpio to join his gang which is masterminded by crooked criminal defense lawyer Richard Newton. Slaughterhouse eventually takes over Franks' operation, beats a rival gang, becomes wealthy and dominates the city for several years until a secret group of 6 masked businessmen have him prosecuted and sent to the electric chair with the help of rival crusading newspapermen Carl Luckner and Hank Rogers. Waitress Anne Courtland is torn between her love for the honest newsman Hank and her financial dependence on her generous boss, Slaughterhouse. Written by Sandra Bockelman

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

18 April 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Secret 6 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$494,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Ralph Bellamy. See more »

Goofs

When Slaughterhouse is dividing up the money, the cash wad mysteriously switches from being held in both hands to just his right hand. See more »

Quotes

Peaches: Oh, Johnny, going out tonight?
Johnny Franks: Sure. What of it?
Peaches: Nothin'. But, don't stay out too long, honey, will ya?
Johnny Franks: Go on! Go on, cut the apple sauce!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Boardwalk Empire: Cuanto (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played at the party for Scorpio
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Polluting The Justice System
23 March 2011 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The Secret Six, produced by William Randolph Hearst's Cosmopolitan Pictures for MGM, has an interesting message about extralegal means to bring down systemic corruption. The title figures are six notable citizens who are all masked, representing all kinds of interests who come together when organized crime takes over a city. We never see The Secret Six, they only come in the last third of the film. But we do see how they operate.

The films is the story of the rise and fall of Wallace Beery who becomes an Al Capone like figure, the real brains of the outfit however is the mob's lawyer Lewis Stone. With Stone pulling the strings and polluting the justice system, Beery rises to power in a typical gangland battle. When the regular law enforcement channels don't work, The Secret Six start working with the federal government to bring Beery down. Working with them are a pair of reporters Johnny Mack Brown and Clark Gable. A key witness in the events is Jean Harlow in her first MGM film.

For those who are used to seeing Lewis Stone as the rock of integrity as Judge Hardy, Stone as a bottom feeding shyster lawyer will be quite the revelation. Maybe because he's cast against type he's so good, he just oozes sanctimony in front of a jury.

One character I wish that we'd seen a bit more of is Paul Hurst who is Beery's friend and whom the gang elects mayor of a small town. Once doing that the gang moves on to a big city where they take down top gangster boss John Miljan. The situation parallels Al Capone's takeover of Hawthorne, Illinois. I wish Hurst hadn't just disappeared from the story after his election.

The Secret Six was the first of six films that Clark Gable and Jean Harlow worked in. Next to Joan Crawford, Gable teamed with Harlow more than any other leading lady. Neither of them however are the stars here, they are billed way down in the cast list. Marjorie Rambeau also has a nice role as a good time girl who Beery uses as a doormat, but Rambeau has the last laugh on him.

Although Warner Brothers was the gangster studio with their emphasis on working class films, The Secret Six could give any of the Warner products a run in quality.


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