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Bullets Or Ballots [DVD] [1936] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Edward G. Robinson , Joan Blondell , Friz Freleng , George Marshall    DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

Product details

  • Actors: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Blondell, Barton MacLane, Humphrey Bogart, Frank McHugh
  • Directors: Friz Freleng, George Marshall, Roy Mack, William Keighley
  • Writers: Martin Mooney, Seton I. Miller
  • Producers: Hal B. Wallis, Jack L. Warner
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 18 July 2006
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FI9OAY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 121,807 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars agreeable time-filler, spoilt by lack of scope. 16 Oct 2012
it is true that "bullets or ballots" is somewhat unbelievable, even by hollywood's usual standards. the plot is a bit thin and the ending could have stronger and more detailed.
even so, this film has its good points too. edward g. robinson makes for a good police officer who's undercover to nail barton macclane and humphrey bogart(in one of his many gangster roles), the dialogue is pretty much what you would expect but that's not a bad thing and the pace is fast and furious.
in my humble opinion, i would nominate robinson and bogart with providing the acting honours. in addition, they do have good on-screen chemistry in their scenes that practically sizzle with tension. joan blondell is wasted as her character isn't given a lot of depth. she was put to far better use back in the early 1930s when alongside james cagney.
the lack of location footage shows a bit in "bullets or ballots" as the studio sets and backlots aren't very convincing. as a result, the scope of the production isn't quite as grand as it could have been.
the special features on this dvd are fantastic. my favourite ones are the studio blooper reel provided by "warner bros." from 1936/37 and the radio drama of "bullets or ballots," with edward g. robinson and humphrey bogart reprising their respective characters along with mary astor.
i mainly recommend this film if you are a fan of robinson or bogart.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars film guide 3 Feb 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Edward G Robinson plays a tough cop.but when he's kicked of the force he goes to worke for the mob,but he's only working undercover to find out who's the big bosses are. it's a good entertaining gangster film.there's not has much action,but Edward G Robinson plays a good part and Humphrey Bogart is a great trigger happy gangster.and there's Joan Blondell looking beautifull. special features.Warner night at the movies-vintage newsreel-musical short George hall and his orchestra-classic cartoon-trailers the charge of the light brigade-new featurette gangsters-short film how i play golf by Bobby Jones-breakdowns 1936 blooper reel-and a audio radio show with Robinson,Bogart and Mary Astor.picture and sound perfect.all so plays on my region 2 player.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to do with ballots 28 Oct 2010
Johnny Blake (Edward G Robinson) is kicked off the police force and hooks up with Al Kruger's (Barton MacLane) gangsters. However, he is actually working undercover and is gunning for Al's bosses. Along the way, he crosses swords with Fenner (Humphrey Bogart).....

This film is easy entertainment but it must be stressed that it is a boy's film. The main female in the cast is Joan Blondell who plays "Lee Morgan" but she does not have a very big role. She runs a small racket in the "numbers" game which Al's gang takes over with Blake at the head. This provides a misunderstanding between Blake and Lee, who are friends. Lee feels betrayed and she unknowingly betrays his whereabouts to Fennel for a showdown at the end. The showdown is pretty lame. The two of them stumble across each other and start shooting. One shoots the other and the other shoots the other back. Pathetic!

Edward G Robinson is ok in the lead. He is likeable but does not make enough of an emotional connection for us to really care about what happens to him at the end. It is also laughable when he punches one of the tough gangsters to the ground surrounded in a room by several other tough gangsters. All much taller than him. I don't think so! He would have been battered. On the other hand, Humphrey Bogart is excellent as a hard man and he wins the acting honours in this film. Frank McHugh has a small role as "Herman" in a one of those unfunny comedy roles and he is a complete tool.

As regards the plot, it is all a load of nonsense. NO WAY would Al give Blake such a powerful position in his organization. There is also NO WAY that the other gangsters would have tolerated this ex-policeman, especially as the cartels start to get broken up soon after his arrival. How obvious! The film is ok to watch and passes the time and the character that sticks in the mind is Humphrey Bogart. I'm not sure if the film is worth keeping onto, though.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting Rid Of The Racket 22 July 2002
By James L. - Published on
Edward G. Robinson stars as a cop dedicated to getting rid of gangsters running rackets. When he is fired, he winds up taking a job with crime boss Barton MacLane, against the wishes of MacLane's number one man, Humphrey Bogart. MacLane wants Robinson to make his organization foolproof against the police. When they start having more interference from the police, people in the organization start questioning Robinson's trustworthiness, especially trigger-happy Bogart. This is a tough film, trying to address the problem of gangsters after Prohibition ended. Robinson, MacLane, and Joan Blondell as Robinson's disappointed girlfriend all turn in terrific performances, while Bogart contributes yet another of his bad guy jobs that he did so often until he became a star. I liked the perspective in this gangster film, which focused more on what the law was doing to end the problem, rather than simply giving us the story from only the gangsters' point of view. It's one of Warner Brother's least well known crime films, but it definitely deserves a look.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average movie about post-Prohibition racketeering. 19 Sep 2001
By Andrew R. Oerman - Published on
B or B is one of the movies made as a response to the alleged glorification of mobsters portrayed in others such as Public Enemy, Little Caesar and Scarface. This may be categorized with such films as I Am the Law, Manhattan Melodrama and G Men, where law enforcement officers and public officials were shown as the ones to be idolized.
So it's preachy. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not advocating gangsterism. But it's not skillfully done here. The points are driven home thru semi-documentary style narration or plot-halting on-screen explanations, rather than subtly through incident and dialogue. The story starts slow, with the main events not beginning until we are nearly a third of the way in. The direction is only adequate. And it badly needed music to propel things forward.
The plot is hoary, but yet retains some interest. Robinson is fired from the force as part of the Commissioner's plan to get him in with the racketeers and break them from within, by tipping the police off as to their activities. But to really deal the rackets a blow Robinson must find out who the top guys are, men few ever see. And he must avoid the suspicions of the the trigger-happy Bogart and his allies.
I love movies from this era: there are cool cars, fedoras and pinstripes, tough talk (though not enough), and a couple of nifty studio sets to be seen here. But there are also some really dated things about it, including a couple of fistfights only Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson could be proud of. What's more, the internal dynamics of the gang are never too believable, so suspense surrounding Robinson's tenuous situation is slight. And not to make light of what was a serious problem (and may still be in some locales), but there is something less than fearsome about Bogey running the milk and produce rackets. I mean, slicing a tomato and putting it in someone's bed just doesn't have the same brutal panache. (Kidding, I'm Kidding!)
The ending is good but not to the degree it could've been: it's too small in scope and rather polite. Still, Robinson's performance after he is shot by Bogart elevates at least these closing scenes to near-great status.
Finally, the movie misses opportunities for comment on how the law to do its job must sometimes be much like the lawbreakers. The moral complexity of Robinson's machinations (which directly lead to the murder of the kingpin, a man he grudgingly respected) is shown only by him crumpling a newspaper in the back of a cab. The paradox of injustices done in the name of justice is much better examined in a movie like Anthony Mann's noir great T-Men.
Overall somewhat disappointing, but worth a Thursday night rental for fans of the genre or the cast.
See also: The movies aforementioned; The Roaring 20's.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good gangster film 12 Aug 2006
By Douglas M - Published on
With the implementation of the Hays Code in 1934, Warner Brothers explored new ways of retaining the excitement of the pre code films while honouring the principle of not making the gangsters into heroes. The solution was to make their great stars switch sides so in this one, Edward G. Robinson is an ex-cop who infiltrates the mobs. The head of the racketeers is Barton MacLane who lacked Robinsons's star power and accordingly, the heavy is much less attractive.

The plot is more complex than most of these films with the introduction of the bankers and politicians who actually head the syndicates. Whether Robinson has turned crooked or not provides most of the suspense and he cleverly walks a fine line between good and evil. His character is a loner and the film is dominated by the relationships between the men. It is also not as fast moving as others films in the genre where actions speak louder than words.

Joan Blondell has a small part as a smart business woman who runs the "numbers game" and invests it with more depth than she was often given the opportunity to do. Her two encounters with Humphrey Bogart, typecast as a violent but very suave racketeer, are memorable. Her sidekick is Louise Beavers who transcends black stereotypes and plays a woman of resource and intelligence. The presence of Blondell implies a romance but Robinson's loner avoids a relationship with her in a couple of touching scenes.

The DVD is chock full of worthwhile extras including an interesting documentary on the immigrant in the gangster film, an amusing short film on golf with Joe E Brown, Douglas Fairbanks Junior and Edward G Robinson himself, a Vitaphone cartoon with the signature detailed drawings and rollicking music, a musical short and a very funny newsreel item. There is also one of those blooper shorts from the Warner Brothers Films of 1936. If you know your Warner's films, these are always good fun to see. The commentary attached to the film itself is analytical to the point of boredom - a bit like a university thesis on the film's plot and script. The commentator misses the opportunity to say much about the players and the sheer entertainment value of the Warners product. Incidentally, the print of the film itself is outstanding, particularly preserving the superb lighting.

The DVD is excellent value particularly if it is purchased as part of the Warner's Tough Guys Collection.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Gangster Film 26 Mar 2006
By Samantha Glasser - Published on
Bullets or Ballots is a good gangster film set in the later 1930s which helps to explain their existence after Prohibition. Edward G. Robinson plays Johnny, a veteran of the police force whose unpopular methods leave him with nowhere to turn but to the gangsters who want him on their side. Humphrey Bogart plays a gangster who feels his position is being threatened and who serves to make trouble throughout the film. Joan Blondell plays Leigh, a pretty girl who is close friends with Johnny.

Robinson plays his decent character very well, but not particularly notably. Bogart's character is childish and headstrong and he plays the part well, a variation on his many gangster parts. Blondell is less pretty here than in her pre-code films and she dons many low cut dresses perhaps to compensate.

One of the most notable parts of this film is the incredibly sexy kiss between Bogart and Blondell.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't Mess With Eddie Robinson! 12 Aug 2009
By Scott T. Rivers - Published on
"Bullets or Ballots" (1936) features Edward G. Robinson in one of his best tough-guy roles as an undercover cop who infiltrates the New York rackets. This solid Warner crime drama also serves as a good vehicle for Humphrey Bogart as the untrusting, trigger-happy gangster. Not much action, per se, but director William Keighley keeps the pot boiling - climaxed by a memorable confrontation between Eddie G. and Bogey. The DVD includes a "Breakdowns of 1936" blooper reel with outtakes from "Bullets or Ballots" (watch for the brief moment in which Robinson needs technical support to handle a gun).
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