The friendship between two orphans endures even though they grow up on opposite sides of the law and fall in love with the same woman.


W.S. Van Dyke, Jack Conway (uncredited) | 1 more credit »


Oliver H.P. Garrett (screen play), Joseph L. Mankiewicz (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Clark Gable ... Blackie Gallagher
William Powell ... Jim Wade
Myrna Loy ... Eleanor
Leo Carrillo ... Father Joe
Nat Pendleton ... Spud
George Sidney ... Poppa Rosen
Isabel Jewell ... Annabelle
Muriel Evans ... Tootsie Malone
Thomas E. Jackson ... Richard Snow (as Thomas Jackson)
Isabelle Keith ... Miss Adams (as Claudelle Kaye)
Frank Conroy ... Defense Attorney
Noel Madison ... Manny Arnold
Jimmy Butler ... Jim - as a Boy
Mickey Rooney ... Blackie - as a Boy
Shirley Ross ... Singer in Cotton Club


Orphans Edward "Blackie" Gallagher and Jim Wade are lifelong friends who take different paths in life. Blackie thrives on gambling and grows up to be a hard-nosed racketeer. Bookworm Wade becomes a D.A. vying for the Governorship. When Blackie's girlfriend Eleanor leaves him and marries the more down to earth Wade, Blackie harbors no resentment. In fact, their friendship is so strong that Blackie murders an attorney threatening to derail Wade's bid to become Governor. The morally straight Wade's last job as D.A. is to convict his friend of the murder, and send him to the electric chair. After he becomes Governor, Wade has the authority to commute Blackie's death sentence-- a decision that pits his high moral ethics against a lifelong friendship. Written by Gary Jackson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


RECKLESS with WOMEN...He pursued them ..."petted" them...promised them nothing and got away with everything! (Print Ad-Gettysburg Times, ((Gettysburg, Penna.)) 6 July 1934) See more »


Crime | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This was the movie that bank robber John Dillinger had just seen before he was gunned down in front of Chicago's Biograph Theater on July 22, 1934. He had been set up by Anna Sage, the madam of a brothel, who knew Dillinger's girlfriend, Polly Hamilton. Sage was facing deportation and thought the tip might get her off. She told FBI agent Melvin Purvis that she would be wearing orange which appeared red, leading her to be dubbed "The Woman in Red". Dillinger was shot three times when he tried to escape, and Sage wound up being sent back to Romania. See more »


When Snow enters the men's room at Madison Square Garden, we see him enter the room and subsequently begin to close the door. In the next shot, showing him reflected in the mirrors above the basin, he is once again in the act of walking through the door. See more »


Spud 'Spuddie': But, Boss, I tink...
Edward J. 'Blackie' Gallagher: With what?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Featured in Myrna Loy: So Nice to Come Home to (1990) See more »


What's the Matter With Father
(1910) (uncredited)
Music by Egbert Van Alstyne
Played aboard the steamboat in the first scene
See more »

User Reviews

You don't gotta believe it. You do gotta like it.
12 August 2009 | by wuxmupSee all my reviews

Clark Gable plays a really sweet, caring guy who just happens to be a top mobster and cold-blooded killer. William Powell, less than month before his first appearance as wealthy gumshoe Nick Charles in "The Thin Man," is the uncorruptible Manhattan DA who saved Gable's life when they were kids. And Myrna Loy, less than a month before she first appeared as wealthy gumshoe-ette Nora Charles, is the Woman Who Loves Them Both.

Gable finds himself in a quandary: should he let old buddy Powell lose the big election over a dirty lie? Or should he risk the chair to help him?

Decisions, decisions.

How times have changed: a chiseler who's borrowed a bundle from Gable pleads, "I thought I could pay, Blackie! But I ain't got the dough! Please lemme have just a little more time! A couple more days!"

Gable snarls, "I'll give you more time! You got two months! You'll pay then...or else!"

Wow! Two months with no penalty! You can't a get a deal like that from your own bank! That's the kind of movie this is.

So how can it be as good as it is? Gable, Loy, and Powell. Like so many old-time stars, G and P learned early on how to play just one character each (let's call them Rhett and Nick) and they played them to perfection till they quit making movies. Loy was a little more flexible (check out The Best Years of Our Lives), but here she is, Nora Charles before "Nora" was even born.

Nat Pendleton plays one of his trademark goons, and in a small role the Harlowesque Muriel Evans shines, almost literally, as Tootsie.

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Release Date:

4 May 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Manhattan Melodrama See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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