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Bullets or Ballots (1936)

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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

'Bugs' Fenner: You know, that hat on the bed might be bad luck.
Al Kruger: For you or for me?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood and the Stars: The Man Called Bogart (1963) 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

 
Edward G. Robinson: A Tough Guy With A Heart
23 December 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

This turned out to be a decent '30s gangster movie, not a lot different from a few others I've seen where Humphrey Bogart plays the bad guy and is the main adversary of the hero. Several films had James Cagney up against him; here it was Edward G Robinson.

Robinson plays policeman "Det. Johnny Blake," who goes underground, so to speak, by posing as a gang member to get the goods on them. (It's based on a real-life character.) Robinson, as usual, is very interesting to watch and is a tough guy BUT with a soft heart. In fact, he even feels bad about betraying the head crook because he has such principles of being a "straight shooter" that he doesn't feel right lying to anybody, even the gang leader "Al Krueger" (Barton MacLane).

Bogart plays "Nick Fenner," Al's number-one guy and is more of the villain than his boss. Joan Blondell gets second billing but that's not right because she's at least fourth in the amount of screen time and lines. There really is no real love interest in this movie; it's strictly a crime story.

When I first saw this movie, a little over a decade ago on VHS, I wasn't that impressed but last week, watching this on DVD, not only was the story better than I remembered but the picture was excellent. The blacks, whites and grays in here are beautiful. This was part of the "Tough Guys" DVD package and they did a wonderful job on the transfer.


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