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The Big Shakedown (1934)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 6 January 1934 (USA)
Racketeers flood the market with counterfeit cosmetics and drugs, causing some tragedies.

Writers:

Niven Busch (screenplay), Rian James (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Ricardo Cortez
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charles Farrell ... Jimmy Morrell
Bette Davis ... Norma Nelson
Ricardo Cortez ... Dutch Barnes
Glenda Farrell ... Lily 'Lil' Duran
Allen Jenkins ... Lefty
Henry O'Neill ... Mr. Sheffner
Dewey Robinson ... Slim
John Wray ... Higgins
Philip Faversham ... John - New Salesman
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Regan - Bartender
Renee Whitney ... Mae LaRue
G. Pat Collins ... Gyp (as George Pat Collins)
Adrian Morris Adrian Morris ... Trigger
Ben Hendricks Jr. Ben Hendricks Jr. ... Spike (as Ben Hendricks)
George Cooper ... Shorty
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Storyline

Former bootlegger Nick Barnes pressures neighborhood druggist Jimmy Morrell into making cut-rate drugs. The money makes it possible for Jimmy to marry Norma Frank, a pharmacy clerk. Expecting a baby, she wants Jimmy to quit the racket. Beaten by the mob, Jimmy works on, diluting the medications still further. Norma is rushed to the hospital for a premature delivery and given bogus medication. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 January 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Shakedown See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

First National Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Final film of director John Francis Dillon. See more »

Quotes

Mae LaRue: [Bursting in on Dutch and Lil in Dutch's office] I told you he was in!
[Sizing up the situation]
Mae LaRue: Hello, lover.
Dutch Barnes: [Straightening his tie nervously] Hello, Mae.
Lily 'Lil' Duran: Hello Mae? You bet he's in; he's in my hair.
[turning to Dutch]
Lily 'Lil' Duran: Why you double-crossing, two-timing slug. So that's why you want to send me to Europe, huh?
Dutch Barnes: Now wait a minute, honey, wait a minute.
Lily 'Lil' Duran: Oh, wait a minute - breezin' me off so you can play post office with this queen. What gutter'dja pick her out of?
Mae LaRue: [...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown over a background of coins and bills. Then the lead actors are shown above their written names. See more »

Connections

Referenced in This Is Your Life: Bette Davis (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Losing You
(uncredited)
Music by Samuel Pokrass
Played on the radio in the apartment
See more »

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User Reviews

 
early Bette in her ingénue days
3 July 2015 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Charles Farrell, a great silent screen star, appears with Bette Davis and Ricardo Cortez in "The Big Shakedown," a 1934 film featuring Allen Jenkins and Glenda Farrell.

Farrell and Davis are Jimmy and Norma, a boyfriend-girlfriend who marry later in the film. They run a corner drugstore. Cortez is a post- Prohibition gangster, Dutch Baines, looking for a new racket. Patronizing the store one day, he realizes that Jimmy can make his own products, which are identical to ones on the market. However, he isn't selling them claiming that they are the commercial brands; he makes them so he can sell a house brand for less.

Of course, Dutch sees that if these products are sold under the commercial names, he can use their publicity and brand reputation to make a fortune. He talks Jimmy into making toothpaste and beauty products because Jimmy needs money. He's reluctant to do it and planning to quit when Dutch decides to go into medicine and have Jimmy make drugs. Jimmy flatly refuses; Dutch makes noise about Norma's safety, and Jimmy caves.

This is a typical crime film interesting because of the cast. Davis' role is an ordinary ingénue one that could have been played by anyone. She was still getting a build-up and hadn't yet become a star with a special image. She's blond and pretty. Glenda Farrell has the role of Dutch's girlfriend, whom he throws over. Farrell, with her distinctive speaking voice and likable personality always stands out. Cortez does well playing the tough, uncompromising Baines.

Charles Farrell, whom I used to see as an elderly man (your fifties were considered like the seventies back then) when My Little Margie was in syndication, was good-looking and popular in his day. He had a gentleness about him and also an earnestness which he displays here. He retired in 1941 to become a land developer, but returned for Margie, which was followed by his own show. Then he retired again.

Cortez's career as a leading man was just about over. Though he continued working until he retired, he also became a successful broker on Wall Street.

Of interest, the actor who played the young Jewish boy who buys ice cream (a cone was six cents), Sidney Miller, went on to become a director and composer, and actually revamped the Mickey Mouse Club for Walt Disney beginning in its second season.

Amazing that Bette Davis was the only one to stay full-time in acting.


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