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Bullets or Ballots (1936)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 6 June 1936 (USA)
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After Police Captain Dan McLaren becomes police commissioner former detective Johnny Blake knocks him down convincing rackets boss Al Kruger that Blake is sincere in his effort to join the ... See full summary »

Director:

William Keighley

Writers:

Seton I. Miller (screen play), Martin Mooney (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward G. Robinson ... Johnny Blake
Joan Blondell ... Lee Morgan
Barton MacLane ... Al Kruger
Humphrey Bogart ... 'Bugs' Fenner
Frank McHugh ... Herman
Joe King ... Capt. Dan McLaren (as Joseph King)
Dick Purcell ... Ed Driscoll (as Richard Purcell)
George E. Stone ... Wires Kagel
Joseph Crehan ... Grand Jury Spokesman
Henry O'Neill ... Ward Bryant
Henry Kolker ... Mr. Hollister
Gilbert Emery ... Mr. Thorndyke
Herbert Rawlinson ... Mr. Caldwell
Louise Beavers ... Nellie LaFleur
Norman Willis ... Louie Vinci
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Storyline

After Police Captain Dan McLaren becomes police commissioner former detective Johnny Blake knocks him down convincing rackets boss Al Kruger that Blake is sincere in his effort to join the mob. "Buggs" Fenner thinks Blake is a police agent. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Can we bust this brain trust behind the crime trust? (Trade paper ad). See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 June 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Balas o votos See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. 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

In the film, it is suggested that Joan Blondell's character got the idea of the numbers racket from her assistant, "Nellie". In reality, the numbers racket was pioneered by black gambling racketeers in Harlem. The "Nellie" character was based on Stephanie "Madame Queen" St. Clair (Nellie scoffs at being called "Madam Nellie"). As in the film, the numbers racket was eventually taken over by 'Dutch Schultz' (qav) and 'Lucky Luciano' (the Humphrey Bogart and Barton MacLane characters, respectively). See more »

Goofs

When Johnny Blake and the cop on horseback get into a fight, after the fight is broken up, the cop isn't wearing his badge. See more »

Quotes

Lee Morgan: Well, it's time you got wise to yourself. Around this town the only reason friends pat you on the back is to find an easy place to break it.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Lady in Red
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Allie Wrubel
Whistled by Edward G. Robinson
See more »

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User Reviews

Robinson and Bogart
12 January 2009 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Bullets or Ballots (1936)

*** (out of 4)

A hard boiled detective (Edward G. Robinson) gets kicked off the force so a gangster (Barton MacLane) hires him onto the underground. Robinson pretends to be telling them how to stay clear of getting busted but a second hand man (Humphrey Bogart) rightly suspects the detective of just being undercover. Here we have yet another gangster film from Warner and yet another winner as the film contains some very good performances, nice action and some true drama. The actual story of a cop going undercover is certainly nothing new and the film really doesn't hit on anything new but that really doesn't take away from any of the entertainment. The story this time out is also rather low key and we don't get any major action scenes but that's okay because the dialogue is strong enough as are the performances to give us the drama we need. Robinson turns in another fine performance as it's always nice seeing him play the hero. MacLane does a very good job in his role as the top guy and of course it's always fun seeing Bogart playing the second fiddle. Joan Blondell does a fine job as well even though her character, a numbers runner and friend to Robinson, is underwritten. Then for comic relief we get Frank McHugh but he too doesn't have that well of a written character. In terms of the Warner gangster films this certainly can't compare to Little Caesar, Angels with Dirty Faces or White Heat but on its own it's a nice little drama that has enough appeal to overcome its weaknesses.


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