Riffraff (1936 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by J. Walter Ruben
Produced by Irving Thalberg
Written 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[1]
Box office $1,047,000[1]

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.[1]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .

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