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Blackmail

Blackmail
Movie: Blackmail(1940)[tt0031102] 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 byRod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>
Title Blackmail
Release Date 1 January 1940 (UK)
Runtime
Genres Crime, Drama, Thriller
Production Companies Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson...
John R. Ingram...
Ruth Hussey
Ruth Hussey...
Helen Ingram...
Gene Lockhart
Gene Lockhart...
William Ramey...
Bobs Watson
Bobs Watson...
Hank...
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams...
Moose McCarthy (...
John Wray
John Wray...
Diggs...
Arthur Hohl
Arthur Hohl...
Rawlins...
Esther Dale
Esther Dale...
Sarah...
Lew Harvey
Lew Harvey...
Workman (scenes ...
Mitchell Lewis
Mitchell Lewis...
Workman (scenes ...
Louis Natheaux
Louis Natheaux...
(scenes deleted)...

Reviews

David-240 on 11 January 2000
This film starts with a bang - literally. It also ends with a bang. You see Edward G is an oil-fire fighter in Oklahoma - and he's doing really well. Great job (if a little dangerous), great house, great wife, great kid. Trouble is he is actually a fugitive from a chain gang - and his past is about to catch up with him. A shame it does really because the scenes of Eddy walking fearlessly into fire-balls are unforgettable. A story about the lives of oil-fire-fighters would have been a lot more interesting than the rather dull blackmail leading to a return to chain gang stuff. The chain gang scenes never live up to those of the masterpiece "I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang" - but I wouldn't be surprised if Hitler got a few ideas on his slave labor camps from this film. Were the chain gangs of the thirties really this brutal? If so there were a few "war criminals" in the Southern USA.Anyway the film drifts back to oil fires at the end - and the climax is really spectacular. It is enhanced by Ed's magnificent performance, and an unforgettable snivelling evil performance from Gene Lockhart. Both rise above the ordinary material. Also impressive is Guinn Williams, but the very talented Ruth Hussey is given little to do but look worried, and Bobs Watson is VILE as the cry-baby son. All in all good MGM entertainment, with some great sequences.

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