Sog.: da un lavoro teatrale di Bartlett Cormack; Scen.: Harry Behn, Del Andrews, Bartlett Cormack; Tit.: Eddie Adams; F.: Tony Gaudio; M.: Tom Miranda; Ass. R.: Nate Watt; Int.: Thomas Meighan (cap. James McQuigg), Louis Wolheim (Nick Scarsi), Marie Prevost (Helen Hayes), George Stone (Joe Scarsi), John Darrow (Ames), Lucien Prival (Chick), Richard ‘Skeets’ Gallagher (Miller), Lee Moran (Pratt), Lewis Milestone, Walter Brennan; Prod.: Howard Hughes for Caddo Company/Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation ■ NTSC Digital Video. D.: 83’. Bn.
During the time that gangster Al Capone controlled Chicago, “Chicago Daily News” reporter Bartlett Cormack electrified Broadway with his play The Racket, presenting a thinly disguised portrait of a
city government and police force firmly in the pocket of a mobster.
Naturally, no matter how big a hit in New York, no staging was allowed in Chicago, so the theatre production traveled on to Los Angeles. Two results came from the move: the actor playing the gangster, Edward G. Robinson, was courted by the studios (Warner Brothers would eventually get him for their own gangster mo- vies) and the 23-year old aviator turned movie producer Howard Hughes would buy the property for one of his first films. Hughes put Lewis Milestone in charge of direction and Milestone cast Louis Wolheim, a brutish-looking former mathematics instructor, in place of Robinson as the gangster. To get a touch of authenticity, Milestone turned to some local bootleggers and racketeers for bit parts. This was said to have backfired, according to “Motion Picture Classic” magazine, when the gangsters thought the movie did too good a job portraying their nefarious business and leveled death threats at Hughes, Milestone and the lead actors. Hughes remade the movie in 1951 with Robert Ryan in the gangster role but the original has remained locked up in his personal vault, unseen until now.