The Racket


The Racket (1951)



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Movie Info

The Racket was based on a play by Bartlett Cormack, first filmed as a silent in 1928. The storyline was updated to include references to Estes Kefauver's Senate Crime Investigating Committee: otherwise, the plot (and much of the dialogue) was lifted bodily from the Cormack play. Racketeer Robert Ryan has managed to get several government and law-enforcement higher-ups in his pocket. But Ryan can't touch the incorruptible police officer Robert Mitchum, who refuses all attempts at bribery. Ryan pulls strings to get Mitchum transferred to a series of undesirable precincts, but Mitchum will not be dissuaded. The battle of wills between cop and criminal comes to a head when mob-connected nightclub singer Lizabeth Scott turns on her former protector Ryan. The Broadway version of The Racket starred Edward G. Robinson as the racketeer; the 1928 film version featured Louis Wolheim in the Robinson role and Thomas Meighan as the upright cop. Both the silent and sound versions of the property were personally produced by Howard R. Hughes.

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Robert Mitchum
as Capt. Thomas McQuigg
Robert Ryan
as Nick Scanlon
Lizabeth Scott
as Irene Hayes
Joyce Mackenzie
as Mary McQuigg
Virginia Huston
as Lucy Johnson
Walter Sande
as Delaney
Les Tremayne
as Chief Craig
Don Porter
as Connolly
Brett King
as Joe Scanlon
Jack Shea
as Sergeant
Eric Alden
as Sergeant
Michael Lally
as Sergeant
Howard Joslin
as Sgt. Werker
Bret Hamilton
as Reporter
Joey Ray
as Reporter
Duke Taylor
as Policeman
Miles Shepard
as Policeman
Curtis Jarrett
as Policeman
Art Dupuis
as Policeman
Harry Lauter
as Policeman
Dulce Daye
as Secretary
Hazel Keener
as Secretary
John Day
as Menig
Don Beddoe
as Mitchell
Barry Brooks
as Cameron
Herb Vigran
as Headwaiter
Bud Wolfe
as Detective
Ronald Lee
as Elevator Boy
Al Murphy
as Newsboy
Robert Bice
as Operator
Sally Yarnell
as Operator
Jane Easton
as Operator
Kate Belmont
as Operator
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Critic Reviews for The Racket

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2)

Softer than it should have been, then, but still dark enough to lose yourself in.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

As for the film's observations on crooks and poltics, they are so generalized and familiar that this is just a case of one more time around.

Mar 25, 2006 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Well-told version of a famous stage play.

Dec 26, 2016 | Full Review…

[A] hard-hitting melodrama.

Oct 23, 2007 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

A typical gangster film.

Sep 4, 2001 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Racket

In New York, corruption has reached all levels under the command of the powerful mobster lord "The Old Man" and the local crime boss Nick Scanlon (Robert Ryan). When the Crime Commission under the command of Chief Investigator Harry Craig (Les Tremayne) meets with governor, the disbelief of the population is almost total. Craig tells that the uncorrupted Captain Thomas McQuigg (Robert Mitchum) was moved to the 7th District Police Station and has the intention to clean his district. The Commission counts on the testimony of Roy Higgins (Howland Chamberlain) but Nick sends one of his men to eliminate him. McQuigg uses his honest Officer Bob Johnson (William Talman) to arrest Nick's brother Joe Scanlon (Brett King) and his lover and singer Irene Hayes (Lizabeth Scott) to press Nick, under the protest of the corrupt District Attorney Mortimer X. Welsh (Ray Collins), who is supported by the mafia to the position of judge on the next elections. When Nick kills Bob, he sees the collapse of his empire and the end of the support of "The Old Man". "The Racket" is a good but dated police story disclosing corruption in all levels of New York City. The ending is extremely commercial, moralist and without credibility, with the subpoenas of Mortimer Welsh and Detective Sergeant Turk and the romance between Irene Hayes and the naive City Press journalist Dave Ames. Robert Ryan is excellent in the role of the violent and old-fashioned criminal, but Robert Mitchum has a bureaucratic performance. Just as a curiosity, the name of the owner of the car used by Joe stamped on the newspaper is William R. Wyler, maybe in a tribute to the great director.

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

I can't remember this movie very well, it didn't make a big impression on me, it's another cop drama. It's okay, not bad, but not good either.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Ryan and Mitchum are pretty good as rivals in this cops and gangster film, but the dialog is really the star here

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer


This movie kicks ass even though the leading lady has a more masculine voice than Will Arnet.

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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