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Rubber Racketeers (1942)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 26 June 1942 (USA)
Gilin, is just released from prison and now that the government has clamped down on the sale of tires, decides to enter the tire-stealing-for-resell racket. Driving home, he has a car wreck... See full summary »


Harold Young


Henry Blankfort (original screenplay)


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Cast overview:
Ricardo Cortez ... Gilin
Rochelle Hudson ... Nikki
William Henry ... Bill Barry (as Bill Henry)
Barbara Read ... Mary Dale
John Abbott ... Dumbo
Dick Rich Dick Rich ... Mule
Dewey Robinson ... Larkin
Sam Edwards ... Freddy Dale
Kam Tong Kam Tong ... Tom
Milburn Stone ... Angel
Pat Gleason Pat Gleason ... Curley
Alex Callam ... Butch
Alan Hale Jr. ... Red
Dick Hogan ... Bert
Marjorie Manners ... Lila


Gilin, is just released from prison and now that the government has clamped down on the sale of tires, decides to enter the tire-stealing-for-resell racket. Driving home, he has a car wreck with defense workers Bill Barry and Mary Dale. His girlfriend Nikki persuades the gangster to settle Bill's claim by giving him the old car belonging to his Chinese servant Tom, who is about to enter the army. Gilin sets up auto lots all over town where he sells cars and tires stolen by his gang. He also sells faulty synthetic tires and Mary's brother Freddy is killed when one of those blows out. Bill and a group of defense workers try to trace the tire by its treads and finally locate one of Gilin's car lots as the place where it was sold. Gilin orders Nikki to set a trap for Bill so he can be eliminated. But Nikki warns Bill through Mary. Bill, feeling that Nikki knows the source of the "hot rubber" goes to see her at Gilin's apartment, where Gilin knocks him out. Tom, in his newly-issued Army ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Deadlier than the public enemies... more ruthless than Murder, Inc... are these dealers in death who threaten the lives of millions! See more »


Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

26 June 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Neumáticos de la muerte See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

King Brothers Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film received its earliest documented telecast Monday 3 July 1944 on New York City's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1). See more »

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User Reviews

An odd little wartime curio.
12 June 2013 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

During WWII, lots of items were rationed--mostly because they were needed for the war effort. In some cases, such as rubber, it was even harder to get because many of the nations that provided rubber to the US and its allies had been conquered by the Japanese. So, although it's really odd, a few films like "Rubber Racketeers" (as well as "The Last Ride") were made to warn the public about organized crime and tires sold to the unsuspecting public. "The Last Ride" was a pretty good film--"Rubber Racketeers" was less so.

"Rubber Racketeers" begins badly, as you hear a young couple having a ridiculously improbably conversation about patriotism, the war effort and the need to all work together for victory. Again, it sounded nothing like a real conversation a man would have with his girlfriend, that's for sure! While "The Last Ride" had a bit of this, here in "Rubber Racketeers" they really lay it on strong--and it continues throughout the film. In fact, in several places it's obvious the characters are making speeches AT the audience and it seriously impairs the film's watchability. Even back in the ultra-patriotic 1940s, folks must have groaned at this speechifying.

As for the plot, after a gangster gets out of prison (Ricardo Cortez), his driver manages to cause an accident with his reckless driving. Because of this little incident, he eventually comes up with the idea of selling defective or stolen tires. As for the defective ones, his men are able to make them appear brand-new--but the rubber is crap. Soon, a guy has an accident due to these 'new' tires. So, his friends all band together to get down to the bottom of this--to find these evil un-Americans and bring them to justice. And, in an odd message, the film seems to endorse vigilante justice! So, is there anything I like about the film? Well, Cortez is good (as usual) but most of the rest of the acting is pretty bad. You do, however, get to see a young Alan Hale Jr. in one of his earliest roles--which is mildly interesting. And, the film is a nice window into the past--even if it is a crappy quality movie. The bottom line is that the low-budget really shows in this one, as the film just seems very cheap and jingoistic--even by WWII propaganda standards. It's mildly entertaining provided you have very low expectations! My advice--see the other film instead.

With films like this to his credit, I can understand why Ricardo Cortez soon decided to retire from pictures. He was a good actor but the quality of his films kept getting worse and worse. And, incidentally, retiring turned out to be great, as he actually was able to make a very nice living working on Wall Street according to IMDb.

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