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Blackmail (1939)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 8 September 1939 (USA)
John Ingram, successful oil-field firefighter, is really a chain-gang escapee. Someone out of his past finds him...

Director:

H.C. Potter

Writers:

David Hertz (screen play), William Ludwig (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Edward G. Robinson ... John R. Ingram
Ruth Hussey ... Helen Ingram
Gene Lockhart ... William Ramey
Bobs Watson ... Hank
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Moose McCarthy (as Guinn Williams)
John Wray ... Diggs
Arthur Hohl ... Rawlins
Esther Dale ... Sarah
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lew Harvey Lew Harvey ... Workman (scenes deleted)
Mitchell Lewis ... Workman (scenes deleted)
Louis Natheaux ... (scenes deleted)
Ted Oliver Ted Oliver ... Workman (scenes deleted)
Lee Phelps Lee Phelps ... Guard (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

John Ingram of Oklahoma has a loving family, loves his work fighting oil fires, and is good at it. But 9 years ago, under another name he escaped from a Southern chain gang. Enter William Ramey, a "friend" from John's past, who gradually works up to a blackmail attempt under a promise to get Ingram cleared...but instead has him sent back to the old chain gang. Though determined to tough it out this time, circumstances compel Ingram to attempt another escape... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"Little Caesar" as the King of the Dynamiters! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 September 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amenaza See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film received its USA television premiere in Los Angeles Friday 16 November 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Philadelphia Monday 19 November 1956 on WFIL (Channel 6); it first aired in New Haven CT 3 December 1956 on WNHC (Channel 8), in New York City 15 December 1956 on WCBS (Channel 2) , in Portland OR 2 January 1957 on KGW (Channel 8), in Chicago 16 January 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), in Altoona PA 15 April 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), in Minneapolis 1 May 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9), in Abilene TX 20 May 1957 on KRBC (Channel 9), in Phoenix 28 July 1957 on KPHO (Channel 5), in Memphis 5 August 1957 on WHBQ (Channel 13), in Miami 14 August 1957 on WCKT (Channel 7), in Tampa 1 October 1957 on WFLA (Channel 8), in Cincinnati 2 November 1957 on WLW-T (Channel 5), in Columbus 23 November 1957 on WLW-C (Channel 3), in Indianapolis 9 December 1957 on WLW-I (Channel 13), in Fresno CA 16 December 1957 on KMJ (Channel 24), in Honolulu 3 January 1958 on KHVH (Channel 13), and in San Francisco 20 January 1958 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »

Goofs

While riding under the truck, Edward G. Robinsons characters hat falls off onto the road. Later, when he arrives back at his home, he is wearing his hat again .It's conceivable truck was not going in the direction Ingram needed to go and simply picked up the hat on the way back. See more »

Connections

Featured in From the Ends of the Earth (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Out of the frying pan and into a chain-gang
29 November 2005 | by sol-kaySee all my reviews

**SPOILERS** Having made a success of himself in the fire-fighting business in Oklahoma putting out oil well fires John Ingram,Edward G. Robinson,had it all. A booming business at the hight of the great depression a beautiful wife and darling nine-year-old son Helen & Hank, Ruth Hussey & Bobs Watson,who thought the world of him and the respect and admiration of the entire community. John he also had something that could destroy everything he achieved and worked for the last nine years, a dark and mysterious past.

Being convicted of breaking into the safe of his employer and having the stolen money found under his mattress John Ingram, who's real name is John Harrington,was sent to work on a prison chain-gang for five years. Escaping from prison John made his way to Oklahoma and started a new life and now with his old friend Bill Ramey, Gene Lochart, showing up on the scene that new life,as well as his freedom,is about to end. John giving Bill a job on his oil well to keep him quite about his past doesn't at all seem to work when Bill starts to put the squeeze on him for money and demands $25,000.00 to keep his mouth shut. John not having that much cash agrees to give Bill $5,000.00, his entire life savings, when Bill reveals the truth about the robbery that put John away and caused him to become a fugitive from the law. He was the man who broke into the safe and hid the stolen cash under John's mattress.

Having the $5,000.00 bank check sent to Bill's hotel and Bill having his confession sent by mail to the local police department would free John from being hunted by the police. It will also give Bill, a homeless vagabond, the security of living out his last years after he serves out the five year sentence that John was straddled with. As you would expect Bill doubled-crossed his friend and had him put back behind bars and his oil well taken over by Bill who used the blackmail money, that John gave him, to buy him out while he was doing his time with the chain-gang.

Determined at first to do his five years and then get back to his wife and child, as well as his fire-fighting business, John realizes that he has nothing to come back to with Bill buying him out and throwing his wife and son out of their home and on the street. Getting letters from Helen about how fine everything is John knows that things are a lot worse then the news he's been getting from her when he has a talk with his lawyer and co-owner of his business Moose McCarthy,Guinn "Big Bill" Williams. "Big Bill" broke the bad news about the raw deal John got both here in the chain-gang and at home due to the sleazy actions of his "friend" Bill Ramey.

Breaking out of jail with fellow prisoner Diggs(John Wray), who ends up getting shot and killed, John makes his way back home to Oklahoma. John's determined to settle the score with that lowlife Bill Ramey and get him to confess his sins, or better yet, and crimes that sent him away not once but twice to serve hard time in a southern chain-gang for crimes that he didn't commit.

Edward G. Robinson, in a good-guy role for once, is very good as the maligned and wrongly convicted John Ingram. The ending of the movie, even though very contrived and predictable, is very effective and rewarding to both John and his family, as well as the movie audience. John beats a confession out of Bill Ramey by forcing him to face the hell that he faces and faced every time he went to work putting out dangerous oil well fires.


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