Review: ‘Bullets or Ballots’

This is a fast, smooth-working action picture. Story formula is along usual lines, with news events liberally sprinkled throughout. Martin Mooney, a New York reporter who got himself some front-page attention with a series of racketeering yarns in his newspaper, [is credited with co-writing the screen story with Seton I. Miller].

This is a fast, smooth-working action picture. Story formula is along usual lines, with news events liberally sprinkled throughout. Martin Mooney, a New York reporter who got himself some front-page attention with a series of racketeering yarns in his newspaper, [is credited with co-writing the screen story with Seton I. Miller].

Edward G. Robinson bows out on his Warner contract in this picture with one of his most virile he-man characterizations. He’s Johnny Blake, a tough but honest dick, duplicating the methods and mannerisms of an actual NY dick. Al Kruger (Barton MacLane), obviously based on Dutch Schultz, is the racketeer king who has everything beautifully organized.

Director William Keighley keeps the picture moving and real at all times. MacLane is tops, with the role neatly paralleled by the work of Humphrey Bogart as a first aid and a convicing menace. Joan Blondell is dragged in by the heels as a sort of minor romance note for Robinson, but not too emphasized.

Bullets or Ballots

Production

Warner/Frank McHugh. Director William Keighley; Producer [Lou Edelman]; Screenplay Seton I. Miller; Camera Hal Mohr; Editor Jack Killifer; Music Leo F. Forbstein (dir.); Art Director Carl Jules Weyl

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1936. Running time: 68 MIN.

With

Edward G. Robinson Joan Blondell Humphrey Bogart Barton MacLane Frank McHugh Joseph Keen
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