Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque
The Racketeer AKA Love’s Conquest (1929)
Director: Howard Higgin
Cast: Carole Lombard, Robert Armstrong, Roland Drew, Paul Hurst, Kit Guard, Al Hill, Robby Dunn, Budd Fine, Hedda Hopper, Jeanette Loff, John Loder, Winter Hall, Robert Parrish
The Racketeer is a 1929 American Pre-Code drama film. Directed by Howard Higgin, the film is also known as Love’s Conquest in the United Kingdom. It tells the tale of some members of the criminal class in 1920s America, and in particular one man and one woman’s attempts to help him. Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper appears in a minor role. The film is one of the early talkies, and as a result, dialogue is very sparse.
Mahlon Keene, a suave racketeer, notices Mehaffy, a policeman, arrest a shabby, drunken violinist for vagrancy and bribes him to forget the charge; after Keene and his henchman depart, Rhoda Philbrook appears in a taxi, addresses the musician as “Tony,” and has him driven away. Meanwhile, Keene arranges for a planned robbery to be delayed.
At a charity function, Keene takes an interest in Rhoda when he detects her cheating at cards; she reveals that she has left her husband for the violinist, whom she hopes to regenerate; and for Rhoda’s sake Keene arranges for Tony’s appearance at a concert. When threatened by Weber, a rival, Keene shoots him and, after the concert, bids farewell to Rhoda. The rival gang take revenge on Keene, leaving Tony and Rhoda to a new life together.
- Robert Armstrong as Mahlon Keane
- Carole Lombard as Rhoda Philbrooke
- Roland Drew as Tony Vaughan
- Paul Hurst as Mehaffy – Policeman
- Kit Guard as Gus
- Al Hill as Squid
- Bobby Dunn as The Rat
- Budd Fine as Bernie Weber
- Hedda Hopper as Mrs. Karen Lee
- Jeanette Loff as Millie Chapman
- John Loder as Jack Oakhurst
- Winter Hall as Mr. Sam Chapman
- Winifred Harris as Mrs. Margaret Chapman
Film Collectors Corner
Watch The Racketeer Now – Amazon Instant Video
Not released on Blu Ray