The Racket - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Racket Reviews

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½ May 29, 2016
Nothing special, typical gangster film. Two good leads though.
½ May 8, 2016
Solid tightly made film noir about police captain Robert Mitchum trying to take down Robert Ryan's crime empire. Lizabeth Scott plays the love interest as Mitchum and Ryan battle both each other and also battle their respective superiors. The film was co-written by W.R. Burnett; some scenes were reportedly directed by Nicholas Ray, who'd directed Ryan in the brilliant "On Dangerous Ground."
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2015
Surprised to see the majority of critics didn't care for this movie. While not flawless, I found the storyline intriguing, some of the acting top-notch and a couple of the action scenes very well filmed.

The film is a re-make of a 1920s picture. Howard Hawks, who produced the first version, re-made the film because there were senate committee investigations into organized crime at the time. So, Hawks knew it was the perfect subject matter to exploit.

The script could have used another draft but nonetheless the pace moves along, and characters are properly motivated.

Robert Mitchum, oddly, doesn't demonstrate the star power we know him for, but I found the rest of the performances - especially Robert Ryan, Lizabeth Scott and William Talman (who would later become famous for his role of the always losing attorney, Hamilton Burger, on TV's Perry Mason).

If you haven't seen The Racket and like film noir give this picture a chance. If you're not into it after 20 minutes or so, forget I recommended it.
½ October 23, 2014
not a bad film... robert mitchum, tough cop, lots of good character actors. but pretty much just pulp, not a must see or anything on that end... fun if you are in the mood for a noirish moral tale.
Super Reviewer
November 27, 2012
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.
April 25, 2012
remake of a 1928 silent
½ July 23, 2011
OK noir with lots of talk and not much action. Not one of Mitchum's better efforts. Favorite line in the movie: "You're nothing but a clip joint canary."
May 28, 2011
An incorruptible cop shooting for promotion by cleaning up his precinct, the hoodlum who thinks he's above the law, a dirty prosecutor who wears his guilt as clearly as the sweat on his face, the faceless gangster mastermind behind it all known only by a hackneyed nickname. It's all there in this archetypal police procedural / gangster takedown thriller, but it hasn't aged well. We've had too many game~changers in this space since for this to stand up - in contrast to the modern equivalents ( The Untouchables , Goodfellas, Heat, Internal Affairs) it comes out looking tepid, overacted and obvious. Even worse, there's a large amount of fudge in the directing (if you don't believe me, watch out for the awful rooftop fight sequence which somehow manages to lack any tension or suspense whatsoever).
May 26, 2011
Gangster Robert Ryan goes up against saintly uncorruptable police chief Robert Mitchum in a story of graft in the Dark City. Never were there two more formidable Noir heavyweights than these two Roberts, and they are top notch, but the RKO production is scant on suspense, and there's never any doubt about the way it'll end.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2010
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.
August 25, 2010
already forgot the story...
Super Reviewer
½ May 14, 2010
Typical cops & gangsters flick.Nothing special about this 1
May 7, 2010
I love Eddie Mueller's commentaries. A film noir expert who's not afraid to point out a film's shortcomings. The Racket has a lot of shortcomings, having been touched and retouched by several different directors and writers. The result is a confusing and overly complicated movie about gangster syndicates and government corruption. It could be a whole lot more noir, but too many scenes are about a multitude of secondary characters doing things that aren't that important. It's also a little too black and white, with lines clearly drawn between good guys (including William Talman, playing the exact opposite of his character in The Hitch-Hiker) and bad guys. But there are a few scenes that really sing, Robert Ryan leaps off the screen, Mitchum is good despite phoning it in, and in general it's kinda fun to watch. Talman and Lizabeth Scott are pretty good, too.
½ April 25, 2010
The fact that this oddball curio of a hard-boiled crime film - about an honset-but-tough-as-nails police captain (Robert Mitchum, fresh out of the pen in real life, having served time for a pot bust) who aims to take down a hot-head crime boss (Robert Ryan) who has been absorbed into a much larger crime "corporation" - actually manages to make any sense at all is a near miracle.

Producer Howard Hughes decided to remake his 1928 film of the same name (which was originally based on a Broadway play and starred a young Edward G. Robinson) and shift the focus away from the inevitable square-off between the cop and the crook who were once boyhood friends, and concentrate more on the corruption angle and the idea of organized crime becoming more Big Business-like (an idea that really started to take root around this time, which can be seen in such films as Abraham Polonsky's Force of Evil and John Boorman's Point Blank).

So after countless drafts of a screenplay (one of which was penned by the great tough-guy writer/director Samuel Fuller) and five(!) different directors (John Cromwell was credited however four other filmmakers, including the great Nicholas Ray [Rebel Without a Cause, On Dangerous Ground, In A Lonely Place] and Tay Garnett [The Postman Always Rings Twice] pulled various duties on the picture) the film is a rather ridiculous mish-mash of scenes that either contradict earlier ones or just occur out-of-the-blue never to be mentioned again.
It's not terrible but everyone involved has certainly been a lot better.
August 7, 2009
Good crime and corruption noir with Robert Mitchum and Robert Ryan as rival cop and gangster.
January 29, 2009
Mitchum miscast as One Good Cop opposite an all-too-Cagney-like Robert Ryan. Both are better in CROSSFIRE.
October 27, 2008
A tough talking no nonsense noir with Mitchum and Ryan at odds bringing out the best of the each other.
July 16, 2008
Not Mitchum's best flick but the film noir expert who does the narration is awesome and hilarious.
½ June 19, 2008
Mauvais film noir. Pas vraiment noir d'ailleurs, un film plutot policier très mal joué par de grands acteurs. Film très stéréotypé !
April 23, 2008
Excellent crime drama with the man, Robert Mitchum as a no-bullshit, tough as nails Captain in a town full of corruption. Well shot, well scripted, well acted. A great film.
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