A good story, plus good direction, plus a great cast and minus dumb supervision, is responsible for another great underworld film.
Thomas Meighan has his best role in years as Captain McQuigg, and Louis Wolheim, as Nick Scarsi, adds to a screen rep that has already labeled him the best character heavy, the one-eyed monster has ever pecked at.
The Racket, like all great pictures, started with a great yarn [from Bartlett Cormack’s play] and a director alive to its possibilities. It grips your interest from the first shot to the last, and never drags for a second. It’s another tale of the underworld, a battle of wills and cunning between an honest copper and a gorilla who has the town in his lap.
Tom Miranda was given wide latitude with slang and gun chatter and the result is the most authentic set of titles that have graced an underworld picture to date. The gorillas talk as they should and not as some lame-brained obstructionist thinks they should. They don’t go to jail – they go to the can – and without those diagrams the average super wants with any title in vernacular.
And shades of Beverly Hills, there’s no love interest! Imagine a hero who doesn’t cop a moll in the last ten feet.
Boy, page the millenium!
1927/28: Nomination: Best Picture