Blackmail (1939 film)

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Blackmail (1939 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by H. C. Potter
Written byEndre Bohem
Dorothy Yost
Screenplay by David Hertz
William Ludwig
Produced by John W. Considine Jr.
Starring Edward G. Robinson
Ruth Hussey
Gene Lockhart
Cinematography Clyde De Vinna
Edited byHoward O'Neill
Music by David Snell
Edward Ward
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • September 8, 1939 (1939-09-08)(U.S.)
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited States

Blackmail is a 1939 American crime drama film directed by H. C. Potter and starring Edward G. Robinson, Ruth Hussey and Gene Lockhart. [1]



John Ingram is a highly successful oil-field firefighter and a family man. It is a contented life, he has even bought his own oil well in hope of striking it rich. His greatest fears are realized, however, when a man, William Ramey, from his secret past sees Ingram in a newsreel and shows up looking for a job.

Ramey attempts to blackmail Ingram, who had run from a chain gang years ago, and began a new life under an assumed name. After a shady deal is made, Ingram is tricked and Ramey turns him into authorities, who return him to a chain gang. Ramey subsequently becomes a very rich man.

When Ingram finds out about the success of the man who betrayed him, he plans a daring escape in an attempt to return home and get revenge.

Ramey has successfully run Ingram's business in his absence;but only because no emergencies have arisen that would require Ingram's special knowledge.

As fate would have it, the escaped Ingram arrives at the plant just as a major oil fire breaks out.

Overpowering Ramey, Ingram slowly drags him towards the heart of the blaze; hinting that unless Ramey makes a full confession; he will do nothing to save them.

A frightened Ramey agrees. Ingram douses the oil fire, and is eventually restored to his former position of respectability.


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  1. Nugent, Frank S. (September 15, 1939). "THE SCREEN: FOUR FILMS IN REVIEW; A Whopping Picture Is 'The Real Glory' With Gary Cooper, at the Rivoli--'Blackmail,' Featuring Edward G. Rabinson, Is Presented at the Capital--Two Foreign Pictures Also Are Shown". The New York Times .