Riffraff (1936 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by J. Walter Ruben
Produced by Irving Thalberg
Written by George S. Kaufman
John Lee Mahin
Carey Wilson[1]
Screenplay by Frances Marion
Anita Loos
H. W. Hannaford
Starring Jean Harlow
Spencer Tracy
Music by Edward Ward
Cinematography Ray June
Edited by Frank Sullivan
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
January 3, 1936
Running time
94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $732,000[2]
Box office $1,047,000[2]

Riffraff is a 1936 film starring Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy. The movie was written by Frances Marion, Anita Loos, and H. W. Hannaford, and directed by J. Walter Ruben.


Spencer Tracy plays a rough and tough fisherman ("Dutch" Mueller), who leads in a strike with his fellow Fishery workers against the "fat-cat" owners of a Tuna cannery. The love interest Hattie (Jean Harlow), is also a Tuna cannery worker. Her character has a tough exterior with her "bombshell" good looks.

Jimmie (Mickey Rooney) plays a teenager, who is the Uncle of the two youngest children. They all live with; "Pops" (Roger Imhof), Hattie and his Aunt Lil (Una Merkel) together in the same small, apartment-like "shack" on the wharf. Aunt 'Lil runs the home.

The thuggish cannery owner, Nick Lewis (Joseph Calliea), is also trying to romance Hattie with his money & gifts. He has wealth, Dutch does not. Hattie falls for Dutch in the end but this antagonism creates many struggles throughout the film. Pete (William Newell) is a family friend along with many colorful characters in the movie.

The movie explores some cutting edge sub-themes that were socially current at the time of its release in 1936 release. Some scenes involve a woman having a baby while in prison, a hobo camp deep in the woods showing vagabonds, as well as worker strike scenes on the docks in the story.


Box Office[edit]

According to MGM records the film earned $717,000 in the US and $330,000 elsewhere resulting in a loss of $63,000.[2]


  1. ^ http://www.afi.com/members/catalog/DetailView.aspx?s=&Movie=6074
  2. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .

External links[edit]