Smashing the Rackets

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Smashing the Rackets
Smashing the Rackets poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lew Landers
Written byLionel Houser
Based onSmashing the Rackets
1938 in The Saturday Evening Post
by Forrest Davis
Produced byB.P. Fineman
Starring Chester Morris
Frances Mercer
Rita Johnson
Bruce Cabot
Edward Pawley
Cinematography Nicholas Musuraca
Edited by Harry Marker
Music byFrank Tours
Distributed byRKO Pictures
Release date
  • August 19, 1938 (1938-08-19)
Running time
69 minutes
CountryUnited States

Smashing the Rackets is a 1938 American drama film directed by Lew Landers, written by Lionel Houser, and starring Chester Morris, Frances Mercer, Rita Johnson, Bruce Cabot and Edward Pawley. It was released on August 19, 1938, by RKO Pictures. [1] [2] [3]



Jim 'Sock' Conway, former boxer and FBI hero, is maneuvered for political reasons into a do-nothing job in the district attorney's office. He considers quitting but agrees to remain in his job to defend Letty Lane in order to court her much nicer sister Pat.

Meanwhile, a gang led by White Clark and Chin Martin begins a protection racket to force local businesses to install slot machines. Chin hires Letty's boyfriend Steve Lawrence, an attorney, to file an injunction to prevent the attorney from interfering with their plans. Steve begins plotting to take over the gang from Whitey, who he finds too brutal. After Whitey orders the brutal beating of Jim's friends Franz and Otto and Otto dies, Jim uses his position to prosecute the hoodlums and is promoted. He then secures an indictment of a major racketeer.

Steve and Chin kill Whitey, and then Steve arranges for Chin to be caught in a police raid. A suspicious Letty tracks Steve to his home in country just as Chin arrives to kill Steve, and she fatally shoots him. Steve's mistress Peggy provides testimony that allows Steve to be indicted. Letty kills herself in an automobile accident in order to avoid damaging her sister's reputation. Jim and Pat are married, and he founds his own law practice.



The film was based on Forrest Davis's series of articles on Thomas E. Dewey's campaign against organized crime in New York City. [4] [5]

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  1. "Smashing the Rackets (1938) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  2. Hal Erickson (2014). "Smashing-the-Rackets - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes -". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times . Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 12 September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  3. "Smashing The Rackets Trailer, Reviews and Schedule for Smashing The Rackets -". TV Guide. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  4. Farris, Scott (2012). Almost president: the men who lost the race but changed the nation . Internet Archive. Guilford, CN: Lyons Press. p. 111-112. ISBN   978-0-7627-6378-8.
  5. "Smashing the Rackets". Retrieved 2022-01-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)